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Overview : Social Capital

Social Capital refers to the norms and networks that enable collective action. It encompasses institutions, relationships, and customs that shape the quality and quantity of a society's social interactions. Increasing evidence shows that social capital is critical for societies to prosper economically and for development to be sustainable. Social capital, when enhanced in a positive manner, can improve project effectiveness and sustainability by building the community’s capacity to work together to address their common needs, fostering greater inclusion and cohesion, and increasing transparency and accountability.

In order to apply the concept of social capital at a practical and operational level, it can be broken down into five key dimensions: Groups and networks - collections of individuals that promote and protect personal relationships which improve welfare; Trust and Solidarity   elements of interpersonal behavior which fosters greater cohesion and more robust collective action; Collective Action and Cooperation - ability of people to work together toward resolving communal issues ; Social Cohesion and Inclusion -   mitigates the risk of conflict and promotes equitable access to benefits of development by enhancing participation of the marginalized; and Information and Communication - breaks down negative social capital and also enables positive social capital by improving access to information.   These dimensions capture both the structural and cognitive forms of social capital.

Social Capital is a concept that has significant implications for enhancing the quality, effectiveness and sustainability of World Bank operations, particularly those that are based on community action. In order to translate the theory of Social Capital into a more practical construct, the Social Capital Implementation Framework (SCIF) was developed, based on findings from two desk reviews of internal and external projects with social capital components. The main goal of the framework is to provide guidance on how social capital can be incorporated into operations.