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Development NGOs, Colonialism, Gender and Poverty in Tanzania: A Critical Case Study of Microcredit as a Neoliberal Poverty Alleviation Initiative Open Access


Other title
Microcredit and Poverty Alleviation
Development NGOs
Microcredit in Tanzania
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nathoo, Sheineen
Supervisor and department
Kapoor, Dip (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Alex Da Costa (Educational Policy Studies)
Dr. Jonathan Langdon (Development Studies, St.Francis Xavier University)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Education
Degree level
The deployment of microfinance as a neoliberal, market-based, development intervention in the name of poverty-alleviation and empowerment has continued to persist in international development programs, policy and discourses, despite growing critiques which illustrate that it has not significantly reduced poverty, nor empowered women in the Global South. Persistent critical scholarship including empirical studies in Latin America, Asia and Africa over the last ten years have pointedly exposed microcredit as a development project and proponents who claimed this was the solution to global poverty. Instead, microcredit culminated in producing challenges adversely affecting so-called beneficiaries (e.g. mainly urban/rural poor women), while some dominant development NGOs and their sub-contracted small or local NGOs operated as neoliberal agents, complicit in the implementation of the neoliberal development project. Relying on a critical-qualitative research methodology, this thesis elaborates on a critical qualitative case study of BRAC TANZANIA’s (formerly known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) microcredit intervention as a neoliberal development and poverty alleviation strategy. The main purpose of the research and the case study was to develop a critical exploration of microcredit programs as a neoliberal poverty alleviation intervention in terms of its poverty causing, neo/colonial and gendered implications. Methods of data collection included secondary documents, key informant interviews, focus groups and researcher observations. The case study engaged 52 participants of which 44 were borrowers of microloans and ten were staff employed at BRAC who administered the microfinance program. The research was conducted in Dar-es-Salaam in May and June of 2015. Critical-qualitative data generated through this research brings into question how a capital-driven neoliberal penetration strategy has brazenly been promulgated in the name of development and poverty alleviation to further the interests of the agents of capital, including NGOs implementing microcredit, while perpetuating obstinate gendered, colonial and impoverishing continuities.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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