CGIAR Systemwide Program on
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Collective Action, Assets, and Vulnerability: The Gendered Impact of Collective Action in Bangladesh


International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Contact: Agnes Quisumbing (a.quisumbing[at]


This study is part of IFPRI's Pathways from Poverty Research Program. IFPRI works together with Data Analysis and Technical Assistance (DATA), Ltd., Bangladesh and the University of Bath, UK to implement this project.

Project goal

The goal of this project is to better understand how collective action improves women's well-being and reduces their own, and their families', vulnerability. The objective of the project is to identify potential programs and policies to complement existing forms of collective action or enhance local organizations that are important for poor and vulnerable women and their families. The ultimate aim is to increase the effectiveness of collective action, as well as enhance its impact on development outcomes: empowering women, achieving gender equity, reducing the gender gap in asset ownership, and reducing vulnerability.

Project description

To achieve its goal to contribute to the understanding of the interactions between gender and collective action the project will: (1) examine interactions among, and the impact of, a broad range of collective action activities; and (2) investigate the long-term impact of a specific intervention, agricultural technology disseminated through women's groups, on the gender gap in assets, poverty, and vulnerability in rural Bangladesh.

Understanding both the wider landscape of collective action and its long-term impact on gender equity is important. First, evaluations of the impact of groups in Bangladesh have focused mainly on microfinance. However, a whole range of collective action institutions may exist, and for different purposes. These institutions may reach different segments of the population. Understanding the broad range of collective action activities would therefore contribute to our knowledge regarding people's motivations for engaging in collective action, and which type of collective action institution best serves the needs of the poor. Second, the qualitative work proposed would enable us to assess the effectiveness of different types of collective action institutions. Third, by assessing the impact of a specific type of collective action on a broad range of outcomes, we will be better able to understand the long-term impact of collective action on the gender gap in assets, poverty, and vulnerability.

The proposed project will build on an ongoing longitudinal study of about 1000 households in three areas of Bangladesh using iterative qualitative and quantitative methods.

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