REES Department Seminar: Dr. Brent Swallow, Friday, February 17, 2023

Date(s) - 17/02/2023
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
550 General Services Building, 550 General Services Building University of Alberta , Edmonton Alberta

Title: Building community capacity for development in rural Tanzania

Speaker: Dr. Brent Swallow, Department of Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology, U of A

Date: Friday, February 17, 2023

Time: 3:30 – 5:00 PM

Location: 550 General Services Building


Many areas of public policy – health, nutrition, rural employment–seek to enhance community capacity as a pathway to improve attitude, behavior and outcome.  This is especially so in developing countries where local community groups are involved in disseminating information, fostering collective action, developing new enterprises, catalyzing finance, and providing connection to public services.  Given the assumed importance of community capacity, there is little agreement among researchers about how to measure it and also little agreement among development practitioners about how to build it.  This presentation addresses these knowledge gaps through a case in which researchers at the University of Alberta are working in Tanzania with one of the world’s largest non-governmental development organizations to assess changes in attitude, behavior and well-being resulting from a faith-based approach to behavior change communication.  Baseline and endline data are collected for over 6,000 individuals in 2800 households, clustered into 98 villages in 2 treatment and 2 control areas.  We use Item Response Theory to evaluate the efficacy of the questions and difference-in-difference approaches to assess how community capacity responds to the faith-based behavioral change communication. Results show the efficacy of the measurement and heterogeneous effects of the behavioral change approach.

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