Syed M Hashemi
1. Social Protection and Graduation:
- The Global Graduation Program: Hashemi has been co-team leader of a global effort to understand how safety nets, livelihoods, and microfinance can be sequenced to create pathways for the poorest out of extreme poverty, adapting a methodology developed by BRAC in Bangladesh. The Graduation Program (which he started when he was at the World Bank and continued as Director of BDI) has implemented ten pilots in eight countries – Haiti, Honduras, Peru, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, Yemen and Ghana – in partnership with local organizations. Hashemi continues to co-manage this effort through expanding to other countries and conducting global advocacy on integrating the graduation program within national social protection strategies.
- Sustainability of Ultra-Poor Program Outcomes: Qualitative research to gauge whether positive outcomes of the CGAP - Ford Foundation Graduation Pilots are sustained in the medium to long term. Studies include pilots in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Yemen and Ethiopia.
- Social Protection in Urban Areas: Determining the efficacy of graduation programs for the urban extreme poor.
- Graduating Youth Out Of Extreme Poverty: A youth focused analysis to understand whether BRAC’s TUP model is an appropriate or adequate intervention for moving extremely poor youth out of poverty.
- Bangladesh Microfinance Review: Hashemi has been conducting a multi-year review of the microfinance sector in Bangladesh. The review provides transparent supply-side information on the leading microfinance institutions in the country and analyses their financial performance on an annual basis. The review details industry-wide trend analyses on outreach, growth, profitability, sustainability and risk. The 2013 report is being completed.
- Financial Education and Consumer Protection: BRAC Microfinance is developing a multi-pronged strategy to address the financial literacy needs of the poor, enabling them to make more informed decisions and practice better financial behaviour. Hashemi is assisting them to assess the BRAC pilot in 5 sites to disseminate key financial literacy messages on informed decision making, borrower rights and responsibilities, record keeping and reconciliation, over indebtedness, sudden shocks and emergencies, complaints handling and redressed mechanisms and income generating activities.
- Access to Microfinance for the Elderly: The objective of the research is to understand older people’s access to and inclusion in mainstream microfinance programs in Bangladesh. The in-depth qualitative study examined whether microfinance could provide income security and a reduction in poverty for the elderly.
3. Urban Poverty
- Urban Poverty Action Research Project: BDI conducted a multi-year, multi-site action research project in collaboration with two implementing partners, the Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction (UPPR) project of UNDP and WaterAid Bangladesh. The project sought to: create sustainable livelihood pathways for the poor, construct more inhabitable built environments by providing access to basic services, and develop systems of collaboration and governance that empower slum residents in urban Bangladesh. Hashemi is leading the repeat surveys and analysis of the intervention.
- Housing finance for the urban poor: The research seeks to develop affordable and viable financing model for housing for low income urban households, especially in slums. It will assess the demand for housing finance amongst low-income urban dwellers, the supply constraints to the provision of housing finance, the efficacy of existing housing finance products and the feasibility of scaling them up to serve the existing market for the urban poor.
Professor Piash Karim is presently working on a paper focusing on a theoretical analysis of contemporary debates on Nationalism. The paper aims at making original contributions to the way Nationalism is understood in the postcolonial terrain. Beginning from the nineteenth century classical formulations of Nationalism to its Liberal, Marxist, and Anarchist critiques, and the rise of nationalist discourses in colonized societies, the paper extends to the more contemporary postcolonial/post nationalist critiques of nationalism. The paper ends with Frantz Fanon’s understanding of the pitfalls of national consciousness and the complex trajectory from national to international consciousness. The paper, instead of being a mere review of relevant theoretical developments, will make meaningful contributions to the way nationalism is understood as a philosophical, historical, sociological, and political-economic category.
Dr Farzana Munshi is currently working on publishing an edited volume “Globalization and Trade”. She is also revising her article for publication “Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality: Evidence from Bangladesh Cotton Textile Industry.”
Shahidur Rahman is conducting a research focusing on the role of buyers to ensure a safe working place at the Bangladesh garments industry. It will also examine the consequences of “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.”
Samia Huq completed the Collection of life stories for Musawah’s Life stories project on “Qiwamah, Wilayah” and equality in the Muslim Family.
Seuty Sabur is currently working on two projects, “The aftermath of Shahabag movement and its effect on Feminist Movement.” and as part of an activist research collective '24 Aprli' she is doing research to setup an online archive on Rana Plaza, which will be launched on first anniversary of the accident.
Wahid Abdallah’s current research projects include collaboration with BRAC Social Innovation Lab in the “Doing While Learning” (DWL) project. The objective of DWL is to document experiences of seven development programs in South Asia at real time as they scale-up. At the core of it is the fact that programs often experience several challenges as they scale-up and implementing agencies undertake a number of intermediation activities to handle those issues. The research would apply Developmental Evaluation to document and analyze this scaling-up processes. This project started in March 2013 and expected to end in November 2014. As an offshoot of this project, Abdallah will also work on academic research on community empowerment and access to legal aid services as experienced by a few South Asian Development Organizations. The other research projects that he is engaged with are Effect of e-Government Procurement on Public Procurement System, Incentives and Empowerment of Union Parisads and Impact of Alternative Dispute Resolution System in Bangladesh.
Rubana Ahmed is presently working on additional research for publication of a chapter of her dissertation regarding "access to credit for the poor". The objective is to determine, compare, and analyze the specific differences in credit access methods and options and the respective distribution and utilization of the attained funds among groups in underprivileged communities across developed and developing nations.
Rubana Ahmed, along with Syed M Hashemi, is working on a research regarding the ongoing social protection schemes in Bangladesh and the specific safety net programs, analyzing their effectiveness and also a systematic comparison of successful programs that have been implemented in countries with a similar socio-economic background. The objective is to determine the efficacy of both the methods of implementation and the sustainability for the programs; while examining their ability to offer a bridge toward successful graduation out of poverty and providing sustainable livelihood strategies.