Dr. Reut Barak
"The impact of microfinance schemes on community fabric in East Africa"
The aim of the research is to examine the impact of various microfinance mechanisms on the relationships among community members. Much research has been done on the impact of microfinance on individual and community economic and socio-economic conditions, including income levels, consumption patterns, women’s empowerment, etc. However, there is a gap in the literature on the impact of microfinance schemes on communities.
With microfinance becoming a significant factor in community organization and mobilization, and with people joining several groups or schemes at the same time, the impact of these schemes on community capacity, relationships among community members and the relationship between communities and microfinance groups, is important to understand. Questions of power relations, exclusion and inclusion, and the impact on traditional safety nets and trust will be explored.
The research will build on several bodies of literature, including Community Building and Community Development, Social capital and impact of microfinance on the individual and the community.
The research will be qualitative, based on preliminary data collected through interviews and FGD as well as on secondary data and analysis. Interviews will be carried out with several communities in Uganda and Rwanda, both in the urban and rural regions, as well as with community leaders and contact persons in microfinance institutions.