Committee Members and Influential People in Village Networks

Development agencies increasingly depend on passing information to communities or organizing activities through the elected leadership committees of self-organizing groups. The hierarchical structure of these committees leads agencies to assume that these elected leaders are influential. Contrary to this assumption, this study found that there is a relatively small overlap between people deemed the most influential and the elected committee members. A small portion of the most influential people were especially well connected in the community, but were seldom committee members. Identifying and fostering the support of these individuals could provide an efficient, forceful network for promoting behavior change messages.