Homogenuity and Heterogenuity:
What makes a community tick??
The defining factors for homogenuity in a community can make or break an otherwise well designed micro-credit/finance programme - membership size, fund size, fund allocation methods, etc. There are several defining attributes that can be used to determine the level of homogenuity in a community. Higher degrees of homogenuity ( is supposed to ) " ... lead to lower rates of internal delinquency - members failing to repay the group treasurer on time, and external deliquency - the group as a whole failing to repay the lender."
Some of the defining attributes of homogenuity include:
- Same street
- Same settlement
- Place of origin
- Distribution of overall, and income-earning, age groups
- Income levels
- Place of employment
- Type of employment
- Investment in housing and infrastructure
- Membership in community associations and networks
- Length of stay in the community
- Investment in community facilities
- Civil status - voting rights, political activities etc.
But that does not necessary make heterogenuity a bad word! A very illuminating interview with an Indian NGO worker highlighted the advantages of heterogenuity. Heterogenuity is good -
Thus it becomes apparent that attributes of homogenuity help in group formation and cohesion, ensuring commitment and participation; while attributes of heterogenuity enhances the functioning of the credit group itself by providing " ... mutual insurance capacity in the credit groups and provide strong leadership and competent book keeping."
- since it provides for strong leadership, weak leaders are replaced by stronger ones as the situation may warrant.
- because acceptence of outside/external "intervention", ideas, and suggestions by NGOs, and governmental agencies is more redily forthcoming from community group members.
- decision-making and generation of ideas/brainstorming among the community is very strong as the process works on a much more democratic process.
- Field studies in Bangalore (India) and Bangkok (Thailand). Words in quotes from Mark Wenner - firstname.lastname@example.org in DEVFINANCE mailing list.
Hari Srinivas - email@example.com
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