During the month of December 2012, the Department of Rural Development and the World Bank held several consultations in Yangon with local and international non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and development partners on the National Community Driven Development Project. This note summarizes key issues discussed.
How will the government communicate about and consult on the project? The Department of Rural Development has shared a draft consultations plan for beneficiary communities and key non-government stakeholders, and is developing a communications plan—to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the project, and draw on the knowledge and experience of key stakeholders. Materials for the engagement with project communities, who are the implementers of the sub-projects, will be simple, easy to understand, conveyed in the local language, and easily available.
How will the participating townships be identified? The townships will be selected using a combination of methods, including available comparative poverty data and consultations at the Region/State level with local stakeholders. Final approval will rest with the Foreign Aid Management Working Committee.
In a township in Rakhine State, local officials are said to have told villagers that the project would provide funds to develop a model village, and started preparation. Is this correct? The project does not support model villages. Furthermore, the project will not start in Rakhine State this year. No participating township in Rakhine State has yet been identified.
How can NGOs and civil society groups participate in the project? There will be several contracts for NGOs to provide technical assistance and institutional support to the Department of Rural Development. Other opportunities for engagement include the annual multi-stakeholder reviews and development marketplaces. The World Bank is also considering activities outside the project to support civil society groups and community-based organizations.
Many NGOs are not registered. Can they participate in the project? If an unregistered NGO is selected for a specific assignment, the Department of Rural Development will help it to register.
How can development partners coordinate assistance to the townships where the project is active? Development partners active in a project township will be invited to the familiarization workshops that will be organized once the townships have been selected. Furthermore, the Department of Rural Development and the World Bank will engage development partners in a dialogue about community-based programs. Consistency with local governance and community empowerment are key goals for project implementation.
How will the project relate to community development committees and community development plans that exist under other, ongoing projects? The project will build on local structures and plans where they exist. The committees will be representative of the different population groups, especially regarding women and ethnic and marginalized groups, so that the community plans can adequately reflect the different groups’ needs and priorities.
Will the project give adequate attention to building local capacities before disbursing funds? There will be extensive capacity building at the township and community levels prior to the disbursement of the first block grant allocation in each township. In communities with more limited capacities, more time will be taken upfront to invest in capacities. For example, committee members will receive training in local procurement methods, managing their block grant allocations, and identifying and mitigating environmental and social risks.
What are the checks and balances in place to monitor the performance of the local committees? The project contains a range of measures that will allow for monitoring performance, including social, financial and technical audits, qualitative studies, and a grievance redress mechanism. The project will also contain a management information system to monitor implementation progress.
How would the project deal with allegations of misuse of funds? All those involved in project implementation, including the implementing agency and beneficiary communities, are required to adhere to World Bank procurement and fraud and corruption guidelines. Allegations of misuse of funds will be investigated and corrective measures taken as needed.
How will the project be monitored and reviewed? Regular monitoring and reporting and frequent evaluations are essential elements of the project’s design. There will be social, technical and financial audits at the community level linked to each annual block grant cycle. In addition, annual multi-stakeholder reviews will bring together project stakeholders to evaluate progress, identify successful practices, and discuss any problems in implementation.
In addition to the Environmental and Social Screening and Assessment Framework, which are adequate, will an environmental and social impact assessment be undertaken? There will be no other overall assessment. The potential environmental and social effects are specific to individual sub-projects, such as the loss of some trees or the contamination of a water source. They will be identified and mitigated by the communities as part of the sub-project preparation process.
If a sub-project should require land acquisition, how would the affected households be compensated? The need for land acquisition is likely to be limited. If it should be unavoidable, one of two methods would be employed: 1) voluntary donation or 2) compensation at replacement cost as stipulated in a resettlement action plan if the affected people are unwilling to donate assets without compensation, or if impacts occur that go beyond the threshold for voluntary donations. The communities would be responsible for paying the compensation.
Which model of community facilitation will the project use? The basic elements of community facilitation will be the same across all project townships. Models in use in Myanmar will be reviewed when preparing the operations manual. Adaptations can be made to reflect the specific context in a given township, e.g., regarding the presence of multiple ethnic groups.
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