The Wider Social Impacts of BRAC’s Group-Based Lending in Rural Bangladesh: Group Dynamics and Participation in Public Life

This study was carried out as part of the Global Imp-Act Program which brings around 30 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in 20 countries located in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe together with UK-based team of researchers with a view to developing and institutionalizing systems for monitoring social performance in the field of microfinance. The report set out to explore the extent to which participation in BRAC’s microfinance groups had some effects on their members beyond those that occurred in the household domain. It also factored in a comparison with BRAC microfinance clients who participated on an individual basis. Two kinds of comparison were built into the methodology adopted by the study. The first was a comparison between mature and newer group members and the second was between group members and those receiving individual loans under the MELA program. The report found impacts associated with duration of participation in MELA but in general, the impacts were fewer and weaker. It was thus concluded that along with access to microfinance, it is the nature of BRAC’s group formation strategy together with the various kinds of support that it provides its groups that help to explain some of the positive changes its members have experienced in the wider public domain.

Authors: Kabeer, Naila; Matin, Imran
Type: Monograph
Year: 2005