New NGO-elite relations in business development for the poor in rural Bangladesh
Through observation of two programs in broiler rearing and silk production implemented by a Bangladesh nongovernmental organization (NGO), this article explores what role an NGO can play as an intermediary in business development for the poor with focus on the relations between the NGO and local elites. In theory, as market demand for a product or service increases, the business attracts more interest from local elites, to whom all the benefits tend to go in the end. However, the two cases suggest feasible ways for the poor with intermediary to open up a business opportunity in the elite-controlled rural economy: market differentiation and the use of a stagnant industry. As a result, new NGO–elite relations emerge. Considering the limited life of such relations, efforts should be concentrated on enabling the poor to make the most of the business opportunity in the short term under the new NGO–elite relations.