An Evaluation of Rural Social Service Programme of the Government of Bangladesh
Increased access to financial and social services is an important determinant of economic resilience. Development also requires accomplishment of a number of non-income factors which are not included in a typical microcredit programme. The rural social service programme (RSS), which has been implementing since 1974, is based on the principle of holistic approach to development. The current study proposes to undertake a thorough evaluation of the rural social service programme which has already involved a sizeable number of rural households. The study intends to pursue two broad objectives; (i) an evaluation of the modus operandi of the programme by assessing the different players involved in the implementation at different stages, and (ii) to evaluate whether the programme has been contributing to the amelioration of the economic and social lives of the rural people, if yes, to what extent?
To accomplish the objectives, the study has made use of both primary and secondary information. To complement the available information, primary data has been collected through structured questionnaire from 48 beneficiaries and 24 control households selected randomly in each Upazila (21 Upazilas are selected from 21 districts of the country) which produced total 1008 beneficiary respondents (households) and 504 control respondents (households). In addition the qualitative information has also been collected through Key Informant Interviews (KII), case studies and focused group discussion. The KII has been conducted with Upazila Social Services Officer, Union Social Workers, Field Supervisor, and Training Instructors. FGDs are conducted with Head of Village Committees and Head of Working Groups in each upazila.
Using propensity score and matching techniques, we have compared the average income of individuals that received microcredit from RSS programme to that of non-programme particiapnt groups. The control group lagged behind the treatment group from very initial level. This phenomenon may be interpreted that the RSS loan are distributed properly. The results for this study data show a high positive impact of microcredit programs in some of the parameters and weaker evidence for rest. Overall, the RSS micro-credit program can be viewed as a successful one since it has pulled many a lives out of poverty trap.
Team: Dr. Md. Harunur Rashid Bhuyan (Study Director); Dr. Sharifa Begum; Dr. S M Zahedul Islam Chowdhury & Mr. Maruf Ahmed.