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FEATURE STORY

Q&A: Myanmar National Community Driven Development Project - November 2012

November 1, 2012

   

The Myanmar National Community Driven Development Project is funded by a pre arrears clearance grant of US$80 million.

Last updated: November 15, 2012

What does the project aim to achieve?
The primary objective is to enable poor rural communities in Myanmar to benefit from improved access to and use of basic infrastructure and services through a people-centered approach. It will empower rural communities to choose investments they need most, such as roads, bridges, irrigation systems, schools, health clinics or rural markets. 

The project will finance small-scale, community-identified infrastructure using labor-intensive methods. In the first year the project will finance the rehabilitation or minor extension of health centers, school buildings, roads, water supply, electrification, community centers, markets, small scale irrigation and sanitation facilities. In subsequent years, communities will be able to choose from an open menu the type of infrastructure they would like to select as a priority.

How will the project help poor rural communities?
The project will empower villagers to manage and participate in their own development. The project will: (i) finance community-identified rural infrastructure investments; (ii) strengthen the capacity of communities in partnership with local authorities to effectively identify, plan and implement their development priorities; and (iii) facilitate the participation of the poor and vulnerable, both women and men, throughout the project cycle at the community level.

Who will benefit from the project?
The project will finance three annual block grants of on average US$27,000 each to about 640 village tracts in 15 poor rural townships—one in each of the 7 Regions and 7 States and one in the Union Territory. A union-level steering committee will select participating townships based on the following criteria: high levels of poverty, absence of external funding, and the commitment by regional government to the objectives of the project.

How will the project be financed?
The total cost of the project is $86.3 million. It will be financed by an $80 million IDA pre-arrears clearance grant as well as a government contribution of $6.3 million.

What does the project consist of?
The project is comprised of five components, implemented over a period of approximately six years: (i) community block grants, (ii) facilitation and capacity development, (iii) knowledge and learning, (iv) implementation support, and (v) emergency contingency response. Each component includes specific activities that seek a gender balance as well as to empower women.

How will the project be implemented?
The main decision-making authority will lie with representative village tract forums and village implementation committees. The forums and committees will be responsible for managing the block grants and local procurement, respectively. The Department of Rural Development at the Ministry of Border Affairs will be the implementing agency. The Foreign Aid Management Working Committee will serve as the project’s steering committee.

What is the timeframe for project implementation?
The project will be implemented over a period of six years starting in early 2013. Funds will be disbursed to each village tract over a three year period to build capacity at the community and township level. The project will be implemented in three townships in year 1, and build up gradually from there.

How will the project ensure the participation of marginalized groups and ethnic minorities?
The project will employ special measures to ensure their full participation, including: the recruitment of village volunteers elected from among ethnic groups; free, prior and informed consultations for village and village tract development plans; the involvement of ethnic minorities in community decision-making and monitoring and evaluation; and the use of local languages.

Have there been consultations around this project?
The World Bank has met and discussed project design features with communities, civil society and non-governmental organizations, and development partners prior to project approval by the Board of Directors on November 1, 2012. These meetings included discussions on the role of NGOs, environmental issues, marginalized groups, transparency, financial flows, and local project structures.

The World Bank will continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders as the project gets underway. At the same time, the government will consult regularly on project design and implementation issues with non-governmental and civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, development partners, ethnic and religious representatives, and the media throughout the life of the project. A particular focus will be on consultations with beneficiary communities, which will start once the project townships have been identified.

Is there a role for NGOs in this project? If so, how will they be identified?
The Department of Rural Development (DRD) will work with local and/or international NGOs to provide technical assistance and institutional support for the project. One NGO will be recruited for each of the 15 participating townships. Their major responsibilities will be technical support to the DRD township offices and community facilitation, which is critical for the project’s success. DRD will also hire an NGO for support at the union level.

NGOs will be recruited through a transparent and competitive process that includes qualification and cost. The contracts will be financed by the project. Special emphasis will be given to prior experience in implementing similar projects, thus bringing to bear CDD experience from both within Myanmar and elsewhere.

How will the use of funds be monitored? How will complaints or misuse of funds be tackled?
Funds will be monitored in several ways: 1) At the community level, through social accountability mechanisms that include  the public display of expenditures incurred for community sub-projects, and through a complaints mechanism accessible to villagers; 2) At the project level, through clear procedures for financial management and procurement and a management information system that highlights the flow of funds and disbursements and provides continuous monitoring and periodic evaluation of project activities; 3) Through independent financial audits of a sample of sub-projects as well as annual external audits of the union-level government accounts by the Office of the Auditor-General.

The project design contains strong measures to mitigate possible governance and corruption risks, including a robust management information system and a grievance redress mechanism to monitor and respond to complaints relating to the project and the potential misuse of funds. Furthermore, the project will finance regular technical audits to ensure the quality of the community works.

Where can I find official documents about this project?
In accordance with the Bank’s Access to Information policy, the full project paper was made available on our website immediately following approval by our Board.  All other relevant project documents have also been posted on our website, in accordance with all applicable policies. Upcoming project documents will continue to be made available on the National Community Driven Development Project webpage. Translations into Myanmar may take a bit longer to be published than their corresponding English originals.