سازمان های غیردولتی و قدرت سیاسی مردم فقیر در مناطق روستایی بنگلادش: پرورش عادات دموکراسی؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|5488||2012||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 40, Issue 10, October 2012, Pages 2044–2062
Recent research in Bangladesh highlights an interesting paradox: impressive development outcomes combined with extremely poor quality of governance. The country’s active development NGO sector has been credited with some of the more positive development achievements. The question that this paper sets out to address is why the sector has not made an equivalent contribution on the governance front. It draws on primary survey data to explore the hypothesis that the problem lies in the increasing homogenization of NGOs around the delivery of services, primarily microfinance services, and its shift away from social mobilization organizations.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We set out in this paper to explore the extent to which the persistence of bad governance in Bangladesh could be traced—at least in part—to the failure of development NGOs, the most active and broad-based section of its civil society, to promote the political capabilities of their membership. In this concluding section, we discuss our findings in the light of some of the points raised in the introductory sections of the paper. First of all, our findings suggest that the NGO sector has generated certain generic impacts, both economic and political, but while their economic impacts are likely to have contributed to development progress in the country, their political impacts have clearly not been strong enough to transform the quality of governance in the country. Secondly, our findings suggest that what NGOs do and how they do it does have a bearing on the strength and range of impacts they are able to achieve. Contrary to what Putnam contends, what matters for improvements in the quality of governance at the grassroots level is not merely the density of associations, but also their quality and purpose. What we observe, however, is not a stark dichotomy between the political impacts of social mobilization organizations, on the one hand, and the economic impacts of microfinance organizations on the other but rather broad tendencies. The starkest contrast is between Samata, with its over-riding focus on mobilization, and ASA, which is the most minimalist of the microfinance organizations in our sample. What we can say is that, by and large, social mobilization organizations appear more likely to have succeeded in promoting the habits of democracy among their membership than the more narrow microfinance organizations because their focus is explicitly on building the collective political capabilities of their membership and they use an integrated approach which combines savings, regular weekly meetings to discuss issues which range from immediate livelihoods concerns to wider political issues and building capacity for collective action. By contrast, research into microfinance groups has drawn attention to the increasing use of credit groups as a means of disciplining and controlling group members, thereby reducing group solidarity and willingness to either engage in collective actions against injustice or extend support to the more vulnerable (Ahmad, 2003, Montgomery, 1996 and Nazneen, 2007). Thornton et al. (2000) note how microfinance staff and members frequently refer to weekly meetings as “loan collection meetings” and that very little is discussed at these meetings aside from loan-related matters. Such organizations are likely to generate very “thin” forms of social capital, certainly not strong enough to take on undemocratic practices at local, let alone, national level (Rahman, 2006b). In fact, the drive for financial sustainability on the part of some of these organizations suggests that they are increasingly moving out of the “value-driven” associations of civil society into the profit-driven organizations of the marketplace. Thirdly, the collapse of a larger number of NGOs, particularly on the socially-oriented side of the NGO divide, has highlighted the importance of internal governance. It may, of course, be that these organizations were less prepared for the large infusion of donor funding that some of them received in order to promote the “good governance” agenda than were specialist microfinance organizations whose core business is the management of money. But the fact remains that NGOs committed to the promotion of the values and practices of democracy cannot hope to be taken seriously in the long run if their own internal procedures do not reflect these values and practices. Taken together, out findings suggest that if poor women and men in Bangladesh are to overcome the economic, political, and social barriers to their progress, they need support on a variety of fronts. Financial services are important if they are to cope with crisis and respond to opportunities, but on their own, do not equip them with the capacity to translate these services into lasting economic progress or to engage with “bad governance” at the local level. Equally, perhaps, an over-emphasis on social mobilization without due attention to livelihood issues may promote grassroots participation but may not necessarily overcome the barriers to economic advancement. Poor people need both improved access to material resources as well as the strengthening of their political capabilities. Despite the hostility of social mobilization organizations to NGOs as credit providers and the dismissal by staunch advocates of microfinance of the value of “struggle,” the two need not be mutually exclusive. One possible way out would appear to be the “microfinance plus” approach of the kind represented by BRAC and Proshika. However, there are reasons to be cautious about this. Once organizations begin to prioritize microfinance, and particularly when they begin to prioritize the financial sustainability of their microfinance services, the slow and painstaking process of building political capabilities tends to take second place or may simply be forgotten.7 An alternative option would be to promote organizations with different kinds of core competencies and allow the possibility of belonging to these different kinds of organizations. Despite NK’s rhetoric of hostility toward NGO provision of microfinance, we found that many of its members do belong to microfinance organizations. Rutherford (2010) reports that he found little evidence of active campaigning against microcredit by NK’s front line field workers. Instead they offered a more pragmatic explanation for their refusal to offer loans: that microfinance did not mix well with its core activity of organizing poor people: “one tends to push out the other” (p. 180). While it is difficult for social mobilization organizations to achieve the scale of ASA, Grameen, or BRAC, given the intensive investments they make in the human capabilities of both their staff and their group members, there is in principle no reason why there could not be a multiplicity of such organizations. Yet the future of social mobilization organizations is uncertain. The poverty of their membership makes it impossible for them to survive by charging membership fees. There is a great deal of private philanthropy in Bangladesh, but it is overwhelmingly religious in nature and goes toward the support of mosques and religious schools. It is highly unlikely that governments not known for their respect for democratic values and practice will provide financial support to organizations that are actively seeking to build such values and practices. The solidarity-based funding these organizations previously received from like-minded international NGOs and progressive foundations has dried up and is unlikely to be renewed in the near future. The other obvious source is overseas aid but it has become increasingly skewed toward the organizations that specialize in service delivery rather than social mobilization. The NGO sector in Bangladesh has been rightly credited with an important role in the country’s development progress but it has failed to halt the steady deterioration in the quality of governance. The organizations that were committed to this goal have, for a variety of reasons, been reduced to a small minority in the country. What we have therefore in Bangladesh is the paradox of a country that has made remarkable progress on poverty reduction and social development but failed to achieve basic levels of integrity and accountability in public life. It represents a canonical case of the limits to what can be achieved through multi-party democracy when the structural roots of inequality remain unaddressed.