Aquaculture Projects and Social Capital: A Case Study of NGO Funded Programming in Masvingo District.

Kudzayi Savious Tarisayi[1]

Foundation Training Institute, Zimbabwe Doctoral Candidate, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Aquaculture Projects and Social Capita

Implications of NGO programming have been widely studied from the livelihoods perspectives in general and the sustainable livelihoods approach in particular by numerous scholars. This study focuses on analysing the implications of NGO aquaculture projects using the social capital theory. Authoritative research on NGO projects in Zimbabwe has confined itself largely to livelihoods ramifications without necessarily delve into the social capital perspective. The study was carried out in two wards in Masvingo district which benefited from aquaculture projects implemented by NGOs. The data for the study was obtained through the use of questionnaires that were administered by the researchers on the sampled participants. The study revealed that NGO aquaculture projects in Masvingo district increased the social capital of the beneficiaries to a greater extent.
Keywords: NGOs; aquaculture; social capital; Masvingo
  • Background
Implications of NGO programming have been widely studied from the livelihoods perspectives in general and the sustainable livelihoods approach as propounded by Ian
Scoones (Scoones, 1998) in particular. This study focuses on analyzing the implications of NGO aquaculture programming from a social capital theory. Authoritative research on NGO projects in Zimbabwe has confined its analysis to livelihood implications while negating the social capital implications of the NGO intervention. Thus, it is imperative that a social capital perspective be pursued in this study. Bourdieu (1986:244) argues, “ it is in fact impossible to account for the structure and functioning of the social world unless one reintroduces capital in all its forms and not sorely in the one form recognized by economic theory”. Hence, this study is premised in the inadequacy of the livelihoods approach in account for NGO programming.
  • Purpose of the study
The overall aim of the study was to analyze the implications of the NGO aquaculture programming in Ward 15 and Ward 18, Masvingo.
  • Context of the study
The study was carried out in two wards, Ward 15 and Ward 18 in Masvingo district. Masvingo district the two wards were selected because they aptly reveal the phenomenon under study due to the implementation of NGO aquaculture projects. Ward 15 and Ward 18 lie within the region which receives annual rainfall of between 450-650 mm, experiences dryness during the summer season and recurrent droughts (Kamanga et al, 2003). While, Chikodzi and Muttowo (2013:57) state the area, “is predominantly semi-arid; rainfall is minimal, highly variable/erratic and uncertain making the province prone to droughts.” Hence, the study area is generally dry and receives was erratic rains.
  • Sampling
The area under study has four NGO funded aquaculture projects. Siririka (2007:34) views sampling as, “the procedure a researcher uses to select people, places, or things to study.” The researcher purposively sampled two aquaculture projects, one in each Ward. Each aquaculture had 100 beneficiaries, thus the researcher purposively sampled 20 participants from each of two sampled projects. This selection resonates with the point raised by Johnson and Christensen (2000:75) that, “Purposeful sampling constitutes the selection of information-rich cases.” Therefore, these wards can be argued to be information-rich cases in terms of the implications of NGO aquaculture projects.
  • Instruments and reliability
For the pilot study, the researchers used three questionnaires to establish which among them was the most reliable. The one with the highest reliability was used for the study. The questionnaires were designed to collect information on the implications of NGO aquaculture projects on the dimensions of social capital as espoused by the World Bank's Social Capital Initiative (Grootaert and van Bastelaer, 2001).
6.0 Theoretical Framework
This study is guided by the social capital theory. In contemporary discourse the concept of social capital has become one of the most popular exports of sociological theory into everyday language and literature. Social capital, in its best forms contributes to economic, social and political development by enabling information-sharing, mitigating opportunistic behavior, and facilitating collective decision-making (Woolcock and Narayan, 2000). Portes (2000) avers that the concept of social capital is arguably one of the most successful “exports” from sociology to other social sciences and to public discourse during the last two decades. Dika and Singh (2002) in Oztok et al (2015:19) state, “the central tenet of the social capital theory is different relationships hold different values.” The theoretical development of the concept of social capital can be traced to the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1980) as well as contributions by American sociologists James Coleman (1993) and later on political scientist Putnam expanded the concept. Bourdieu (1985:248) defines social capital as, “the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance or recognition.” Hence, from Bourdieu’s conceptualization it can be reasoned that social capitals entails a means by which individuals get access through social connections to economic and cultural resources. Oztok et al (2015:20) argues, “For Coleman (1988), social capital in an attribute of any given community and is inherent in the structure of relations between and among actors.” Thus, Coleman’s understanding of social capital as a community can be utilized to shed light on the implications of NGO aquaculture on the social capital of the beneficiaries. Whereas, Pig and Crank (2004:60) state that Putnam (2001) views social capital as a, “function of network qualities, norms of reciprocity and trust.” Bullen and Onyx (1998) argue that social capital is not located within the individual person or within the social structure, but in the space between people. In addition, it originates with people forming social connections and networks based on principles of trust, mutual reciprocity and norms of action.
7.0 Significance of the study
The study is important to all individuals, groups and organisations involved in or benefiting from NGO interventions. Donors and organisations will benefit from this study in that they will strive to build more social capital in communities. In addition, NGOs will increase investment in social capital, because in a livelihoods-driven era, social capital will be relegated to the second-tier in Ngo programming.
8.0 Findings of the study
8.1 Networks
80 % of the respondents revealed that their involvement in the NGO aquaculture project had enlarged their network of connections. Therefore, this study reveals that the social capital of the beneficiaries of the NGO aquaculture project in Ward 15 and Ward 18 had been increased significantly. This findings is consistent with Bourdieu (1986:249) who posits, “The volume of social capital possessed by a given agent…depends on the size of the network of connections that he can effectively mobilize.” Therefore, it can be argued that the NGO intervention has expatiated the size of the network of connections that beneficiaries of the aquaculture project can access from resources and information.
8.2 Trust and Reciprocity
The majority (90%) of the respondents indicated that there was increased trust and reciprocity amongst the beneficiaries of the NGO aquaculture project. Bullen and Onyx (1998) view reciprocity as the individual provides a service to others, or acts for the benefit of others at a personal cost, but in the general expectation that this kindness will be returned at some undefined time in the future in case of need. While, trust entails a willingness to take risks in a social context based on a sense of confidence that others will respond as expected and will act in mutually supportive ways, or at least that others do not intend harm. One respondent said, “Now we can leave our livestock in the care of our colleagues without any uneasiness. If you do a favour to a colleague you are guaranteed the favour will be returned some day.” In the light of the foregoing submissions, one can reason that the NGO aquaculture programming in Ward 15 and Ward 18 has improved trust and reciprocity of the beneficiaries.
8.3 Participation in the local community
The majority of respondents (80%) revealed that due to membership in the NGO aquaculture project they now help out in the local community as volunteers. Moreso, (0 % of the participants in this study indicated that they are now active members of local organizations or clubs.
8.4 Neighbourhood Connections
The majority of participants (90%) in this study revealed that they can get help from amongst other beneficiaries of the NGO aquaculture project. In addition, 80% of the participants agreed that they can do favours or assist a sick colleague in the aquaculture project.
9.0 Conclusion
From the foregoing discussion of the main findings, the researcher concludes that the NGO aquaculture project in the two wards in Masvingo district has enhanced the social capital of the beneficiaries. The social capital of the beneficiaries has been improved in a number of dimensions, namely networks and neighbourhood connections; trust and reciprocity as well as participation in the local community.
10.0 Recommendations
The researcher from this study make the following recommendations;-
  • NGO interventions should be studied and analysed by introducing capital in all its forms as espoused by Bourdieu (1986).
  • A social capital perspective should be pursued to study other community projects around Zimbabwe.
11.0 References
  • Bullen, P and Onyx, J (1998) Measuring Social Capital in Five communities in NSW; CACOM Working Paper Series Number 41
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  • Coleman, J. S. (1988) Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital. The American Journal of Sociology, 94, Supplement: Organizations and Institutions: Sociological and Economic Approaches to the Analysis of Social Structure. S95-S120.
  • Grootaert, C, and van Bastelaer, T (Eds) (2002). Understanding and Measuring Social Capital: A Multidisciplinary Tool for Practitioners. Washington D.C.: World Bank.
  • Kamanga, B.C.G., Shamudzarira, Z. and Vaughan, C., (2003) On-Farm Legume Experimentation to Improve Soil Fertility in the Zimuto Communal Area Zimbabwe: Farmer Perceptions and Feedback. Risk Management Working Paper Series 03/02. Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Oztok, M; Zingaro, D; Makos, A; Brett, and Hewitt, J (2015) Capitalizing a social presence: The relationship between social capital and social presence. Internet and Higher Education, 26, p19-24
  • Portes, A. (1998) Social Capital: Its Origins and Applications in Modern Sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24(1), 1-24
  • Portes, A. (2000) The Two Meanings of Social Capital. Sociological Forum, 15(1), 1-12.
  • Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling Alone - The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Siririka, G. (2007). An investigation of parental involvement in the development of their children’s literacy in a rural Namibian School. Unpublished MEd dissertation. Grahamstown. Rhodes University. Retrieved 24/12/2014 from TR07-184pdf

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