Written By: Shafqat Shafiq
Prepared By: Shafqat Shafiq, Samiha Khan, Mashrefa Tabassum, Kaishary Islam and Ishrar Hasan
About a month and a half back, I posted on YPF proposing a project to undertake research with my co-lead, Samiha Khan, to try and evaluate Microfinance and its effects in Rural Bangladesh. I recieved an overwhelming amount of response(s), and after some very difficult decisions, Samiha and I were able to identify a very strong suite of individuals who we felt would be incredibly supportive of our research, and also shared a common ethos.
Our primary concern was of course the collection of data, and translation of Bengali Documents to English. However, due to the extraordinary set of individuals we had on our team (namely Samiha and Mashrefa), we were able to collect first-hand data not only from the absolute grassroots in rural regions, but also gain access to rich datasets held by well-known Government and Non-Government Organizations who operate in this field.
Whilst our research is still in progress, I am pleased to update the YPF Community with findings from the first phase of our research, performed on data collected from the District of Chandpur. We analyzed, using Computational Statistical Methods, the effects of Microcredit Schemes on the average Income/Expenses of Households who have taken Microcredit, and compared it against Households who have not. Our research has taken inspiration from work done by Dr. Abhijeet Banerjee, and it is aptly titled “Randomized Evaluation & Analysis of Microfinance using Computational Statistics”. We have only completed a partial segment of our research work, however we believe the current findings will prove sufficient to garner greater interest in his (Dr. Abhijeet’s) work.
As a Statistician, it is always appealing to solely focus on the Mathematical aspect of a research. However, holding true to our initial commitment to help individuals understand and draw conclusions for themselves, I have constrained the Mathematics/Statistics to its lowest requirement and tried to tell a story using Data Visualization. As such, we shall not infer any causality on the results attained, but rather allow the YPF community (and anyone else who wishes to read) discuss, enjoy and indulge in our findings.
Finally, as a team we believe it is important to reduce barricades hindering access to knowledge. Therefore if anyone would like to “borrow” the codes I have used in my analysis, or seek any of the knowledge we have extracted from our research, please feel free to reach out to any of the Research Team Members (including myself).
Featured Image Source: The Financial Express