From Strangers to Neighbours: Identifying the pre-conditions for social capital development. R7650 Research Report.
Between independence and 1997 over 70,000 Zimbabwean households were resettled on land previously owned by white farmers under the Rhodesian government. Most of these were resettled into villages made up entirely of newly resettled households that had not been neighbours previously. As a result and in stark contrast to non-resettled households, they found themselves surrounded not by kin and friends but by strangers. Two decades after independence, this research project aimed to tell the story of how some of the first resettlers coped with this situation. It looked at whether and how they set about changing strangers into neighbours, i.e., about building a new stock of social capital, and how their relative success in this endeavour affected their ability to solve collective problems, take advantage of shared opportunities, and thereby improve their individual and village-level social well-being.
This report has six sections. Following this review of the project’s background and objectives, section II reviews the methods we used focusing, in particular on the experimental methodology. Section III then summarizes our findings and explores their implications for policy. Section IV describes or dissemination activities and section V documents our efforts at capacity-building and collaboration. Finally, in section VI we list and describe the papers that have been produced under the project.