Mathilde’s thesis focuses on identifying organisational structures and management systems that channel MFIs’ social performance in the context in which they operate, and are essential to reducing poverty. Her thesis title is: The social performance of microfinance institutions in rural Bangladesh.
The research addressed five research objectives:
1) To examine the livelihoods, capitals and strategies of rural people in Bangladesh.
2) To understand rural households’ perceptions of microfinance and MFIs.
3) To identify the organisational structures and systems associated with social performance by MFIs in rural Bangladesh.
4) To relate findings to wider literature and debates regarding MFIs management.
5) To use empirical findings to promote improved systems and structures for MFIs to achieve better social performance.
She chose to conduct a bottom-up research strategy, based on 10 months extensive fieldwork in rural Bangladesh, a 490 household data-set, an ethnographic community study in Modhupur and institutional ethnographies of two large scale Bangladeshi MFIs and examined their social performance in rural Bangladesh. It analyses the context, the livelihoods, and strategies of rural people in the study site and gathered in-depth understanding of people’s perceptions and experiences of microfinance (former clients, current clients and non-clients) and analyses the management of the microfinance socio-financial trade-offs within MFIs.
She is now based in Dhaka and intends to live and work there for another year and focus on publishing from her doctoral research, having successfully completed her PhD studies.