"Markus Pauli is currently working on his doctoral thesis (with the provisional title ”The Power of Individual Freedom as a Concept and Practice in Development – Operationalization of the Capability Approach for Assessing the Impact of Poverty-Oriented Microfinance in India”) within Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence 'Asia and Europe in a Global Context' Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies. He also works as a Research Assistant to Prof. Subrata K. Mitra at the Dept. of Political Science, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg. In his research based on fieldwork conducted in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Pauli studies the impact of microfinance in India, trying to operationalize the capability approach of Amartya Sen in order to draw a more comprehensive picture of the positive and negative impact of microfinance. The focus lies on those institutions which claim to target the very poor and who are providing additional services such as skill training, health care, sanitation or education. Markus presentation at the Lund seminar is entitled ”Microfinance in India – assessing its impact with the capability approach”
Kushi Kabir is Executive Director for Nijera Kori, Bangladesh, an organisation working in 1,375 villages in 17 districts of Bangladesh, organising 293,746 landless peasants, of whom 154,853 are women. Nijera Kori believes in creating strong autonomous organizations of the rural poor, able to assert their rights and ensure their entitlements as citizens of Bangladesh, facilitating better access to rural services and available resources, with a view to building self-reliance through mobilisation and collective action rejecting use of micro credit as well as other service delivery approaches. Ms. Kabir is also the Chairperson for the Association of Land Reform and Development (ALRD), a network of NGOs and Bangladeshi citizens active in land rights issues. She has for decades been actively involved in promoting gender equality, rights of women and other marginalised communities, land and water rights, secularism, environmental justice, food sovereignty, ensuring democratic values and accountability at all levels, besides protecting landless and slum dwellers from eviction, preventing transformation of agriculture land to shrimp farms, worked against the use of fatwas, extra judicial killings etc. Ms. Kabir will give a presentation entitled ”Setting Development Priorities: Economic Well Being or Empowerment for the Poorest”"