BRAC Development Institute
c/o BRAC University
Tel: +88028824051-4, ext 4121
Simeen Mahmud is Lead Researcher on Deepening Democracy at the BRAC Development Institute in Dhaka and a member of the Citizenship DRC. Her research has focused on citizenship and participation, education and gender, and women's work and empowerment in Bangladesh. She is currently working on social policy with focus on health and education; the construction of citizen identity and practice in difficult environments; and the effect of health and micro credit interventions on women's well being.
Mahmud, S & C, Nyamu-MusembiCitizenship DRC Synthesis Paper - DraftThis article assesses the impact that social mobilization/political empowerment initiatives led by NGOs have had on ...This article assesses the impact that social mobilization/political empowerment initiatives led by NGOs have had on the gender dynamics of every-day expression of citizenship at community level in Kenya and Bangladesh. Dominant discourses on gender and citizenship have tended to focus on structural constraints on womenâs exercise of citizenship rights, as manifested in laws, policies and design of public institutions. Without denying the reality of these structural constraints, this article seeks to make visible the role of agency in the construction of citizenship: the micro-level day-to-day expressions of citizenship, the influence of NGO-led social mobilization/political empowerment initiatives in cultivating that agency, and the gender dynamics that are implicated in day-to-day expressions of citizenship. This article builds on earlier writings based on two micro-level studies in Kenya and Banglades
Mahmud, S & N, KabeerIn VSP Coelho & B von Lieres (eds) Mobilizing for Democracy: Citizen Action and the Politics of Public Participation. London: Zed.Due to copyright restrictions, we can only share the first three pages of this chapter online. The book can be ordere...Due to copyright restrictions, we can only share the first three pages of this chapter online. The book can be ordered from Zed Books at www.zedbooks.co.uk/citizenship or purchased at the IDS bookstore.
Mahmud, SIn L Thompson & C Tapscott (eds) Citizenship and Social Movements: Perspectives from the Global South. London: Zed
Mahmud, S, Kabeer, N & J G, Isaza CastroIDS Working Paper 343Bangladesh has come to embody an interesting paradox. On the one hand, it has experienced rising rates of growth, a s...Bangladesh has come to embody an interesting paradox. On the one hand, it has experienced rising rates of growth, a slow but steady decline in poverty and impressive progress in terms of social development, outperforming some of its richer neighbours on a number of Millennium Development Goals. On the other hand, it has an abysmal record on governance and was ranked as the world's most corrupt country for five consecutive years by Transparency International. There is an emerging view that the country's extremely active development NGO sector has contributed to some of the more positive achievements. The question that this paper sets out to address is why these organisations have not made an equivalent contribution on the governance front. The paper argues that while Bangladesh is reported to have more NGOs per capita than other developing countries, those organisations have gradually abandoned social mobilising and collective action strategies for a narrower focus on service delivery and microcredit provision. Our research with the members of six organisations that straddle the continuum between microfinance and social mobilisation suggests that the specific developmental strategies of these membership-based groups do indeed have consequences for both development and democracy in the country.
Mahmud, SIn P Newell & J Wheeler (eds) Rights, Resources and the Politics of Accountability. London: Zed.
Mahmud, S & N, Kabeerin P Newell & J Wheeler (eds) Rights, Resources and the Politics of Accountability. London: Zed
Mahmud, SBIDS Findings ReportIncreasing peopleâs voice and influence in the health sector is generally believed to be an effective way of improv...Increasing peopleâs voice and influence in the health sector is generally believed to be an effective way of improving the performance of health systems, i.e. increasing access to services of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, improving health outcomes generally and reducing health inequities. Participation of communities in decision making in the health sector, through ownership and implementation of local health services and interventions, is now a widely accepted means of ensuring such influence. Not only that, by creating public pressure and generating debate, community participation, actually facilitates the democratic process, reduces the gap between state and citizens and complements state responsibility for ensuring citizenâs right to health and other services. In that respect informed and more inclusive community participation is not only good for the health system but also good for promoting citizenship practice and in claiming the right to good health care.
Mahmud, SIDS Bulletin, 35(2)Citizen engagement with institutions and policy processes gives shape and content to the meaning of citizenship by pl...Citizen engagement with institutions and policy processes gives shape and content to the meaning of citizenship by placing obligation on both citizens and state, and helps to ground the abstract relationship between state and citizen within the consciousness of people. Participation meets the concern not only for citizen voice but also for citizen agency. This article explores peoples perceptons and reality about participation in newly opened spaces within the Bangladesh public health care delivery system. The empirical findings suggest that the effectiveness and ability of community groups to function as spaces for participation and provide the means for developing capabilities to participate is limited, being constrained by poverty, social inequality and dependency relationships, invisibility, low self-esteem and absence of political clout. Neither have these groups been able to foster a sense of community, since perceptions of rich-poor differences in capabilities and responsibility remain strong.
Mahmud, SIDS Bulletin 33(2)New perceptions of citizenship emerging in poor countries of the developing world are identifying a conceptual shift ...New perceptions of citizenship emerging in poor countries of the developing world are identifying a conceptual shift that emphasizes inclusive citizenship as the exercise of agency and the re-casting of rights by citizens themselves. These perceptions are fuelled by the rights based approach to development, which sees exclusion itself as a denial of rights. Collective action can be a way of materializing rights in poor countries and of realizing this new citizen role. Contemporary collective action in Bangladesh indicates that although the space for citizen action is limited by unequal power sharing in society and fear of anticipated reaction, power hierarchies can themselves be utilized for achieving group objectives. Collective action enables citizen action in claiming rights that have direct bearing upon peoples lived realities, but is less effective in enabling agency in claiming rights that involve conflict of interest. Thus, the process of articulating and claiming rights takes place in a situation of continuing social differentiation where inclusiveness remains an elusive concept.
Mahmud, SBIDS Research Report Series, August