Dowry is considered to be among the leading causes of poverty in Bangladesh, having the potential to push households into a state of destitution. The growing body of research on this topic has however yet to implement any projects capable of significantly curbing this process. The aim of this action research is therefore to identify viable and practical interventions that can support a change in people’s preferences and actions in relation to dowry, grounded in the perspective of the community. This endeavour tries to close the gap between the communities’ perceptions of dowry and projects that aim to mitigate the practice. The paper specifically focuses on the relationship between dowry and the extreme poor, and the effects that interventions aiming to reduce this practice would have on this particular group.
The findings suggest a strong relationship between dowry and the undertows of extreme poverty. The paper also reports that, in the eyes of the community, actions in relation to dowry can be changed through a series of simultaneous activities. Based on these recommendations, this paper suggests three such interventions; (i) the formation of anti-dowry ward committees of locally respected individuals to draw awareness to the illegality and harmful consensuses of dowry; (ii) increase law enforcement to enforce already existing laws surrounding dowry and; (iii) enrolment of young women into income generating activity training. The paper concludes that through these main interventions a considerable change in actions in relation to dowry would occur and furthermore, the effects of this change would be strongly beneficial for the extreme poor.
Tomlinson, C.; Sheikh Tariquzzaman. Action Research on Dowry and Extreme Poverty. (2009) 41 pp.