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Social Capital Measurement in CDD Operations

Social capital manifests itself across many dimensions and contexts, exerting powerful influence on how people and institutions operate. Projects designed to work well with existing local associations and norms will be more likely to succeed, while a project operating at cross-purposes to existing social capital or in an environment sparse in productive social capital will likely not work particularly well. By building an understanding of the community-level dynamics that operate through community-driven development, social capital measurement can inform strategies for designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating effective CDD operations.

Social capital measurement in project identification, preparation, and appraisal

When mapping social capital within a country, it is useful to look at the primary dimensions of social capital in the country and the existence of significant regional variations in how social capital is expressed across the country (such variations can have important operational implications). In addition to mapping of social capital, a practitioner identifying a potential project should analyze context-specific social capital for the area in which one plans to operate:  Are there characteristics of pre-existing social capital that the project might usefully tap into that facilitate successful implementation? 

Social capital measurement in project implementation and supervision

Collection of monitoring data provides useful supervision benchmarks throughout the project cycle and the process of assessing, analyzing, adjusting, and continuously developing different elements of capacity is pivotal to effective CDD. Some issues that would be important to consider are the role various groups and networks are playing, which will identify potential threats and opportunities for enhancing participation, assessment of whether institutions and individuals actively involved in project implementation enjoy the trust necessary for the project to perform effectively etc.

Social capital measurement in project evaluation 

To assess the impact of CDD on social capital and empowerment and whether there is an  emergence and/or enhancement of a culture of participation among the targeted beneficiaries, it is necessary to evaluate the development of  social capital. It might be useful to consider the extent to which a a project has tapped into pre-existing social capital; the dimensions of social capital that have been promoted to the greatest degree; and whether the operation has worked to the detriment of some pre-existing social capital. More specifically, it would be useful to analyze whether a CDD project has led to the participation of marginalized groups; lessened social exclusion; increased the capacity for collective action etc.