This is a case study about a group of Bashimbi pygmies in the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, specifically a women’s group and its members’ experience working together and with an international NGO for the first time. The purpose of the study is to attempt to answer the question of whether or not a cooperative (association) is a good model of development for these women. In this context, good means the women’s achieving the goals that they had set for their association – i.e. the reason why they came together as a group in the first place.

Research in the field was conducted over a period of about 8 months in 2006, during a time of on-going insecurity in this part of the country. The results, while encouraging, proved to be inconclusive, since the women were involved in animal husbandry and agriculture projects, which meant that it would take at least a few years to really gauge the impact on the women and the group. Nonetheless, the initial findings seem to indicate that there is a possibility of real success: that is, the group was on its way to reaching its objectives and the members were motivated to continue


Politics and Social Change | Work, Economy and Organizations