Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

The influence of the informal power actors on the humanitarian and development intervention in a rural community of Bangladesh

Funded through the HI² research seed grant program, This study attempts to develop a methodology to identify the structure of informal power actors and their influence in the implementation of external aid intervention in Bangladesh. The study will be conducted in three villages of the Shyamnagar sub district in southwest Bangladesh and will consider two intervention schemes. The first scheme is a drinking water rationing programme, which took place in 2010 after the devastating cyclone Aila of 2009. The second scheme is the distribution of a tube well and pond sand filters free of cost or at a subsidized rate to the locals. 

The intention behind this approach is to acknowledge and formalize the involvement of the informal power actors in the decision making procedure. Bearing in mind that the informal actors are already active in the decision making process, formalizing their existence can create a chance to ensure accountability in their activities. For this reason this study intends to find answers for the following research questions:

  1. Who are the informal power actors in a rural village community in Bangladesh?
  2. How do they interact with the privileged formal power actors and the unprivileged common mass in community decision making
  3. How can they/ do they influence the aid intervention during and after a humanitarian emergency situation?
  4. What are the perceptions of the common mass, the humanitarian organizations, and the formal power actors about the role of the informal power actors in aid intervention?