Results-Based Financing (RBF) and Results in Education for All Children (REACH)

Education is one of the surest means we have to end poverty and boost shared prosperity, but much of this potential is lost if students do not acquire the literacy and numeracy in school that they need to succeed in life.

Achieving learning for all children and youth will require moving beyond simply financing the inputs that education systems need, to strengthening these systems to deliver results. This, in turn, implies aligning governance, financing rules, incentives, and management practices with the ultimate goal of better learning outcomes, especially for children from the world’s poorest families—for whom access to quality education remains deeply inequitable. There is growing demand from countries for Results-Based Financing (RBF), which is a promising set of tools to help achieve this critical alignment within education systems.

RBF is an umbrella term that refers to any program that rewards the delivery of one or more outputs or outcomes by one or more incentives, financial or otherwise, upon verification that the agreed-upon result has actually been delivered. Incentives may be directed to ministries, provinces, districts, or service providers such as schools (supply side), program beneficiaries such as students or parents (demand side), or both. It can refer to donor financing, government financing, or both.

The World Bank Group’s level of support for RBF in education has been increasing, following the successful adoption of a related approach in the health sector. This trend has strategic implications in the post-2015 period. RBF could have a substantial impact in terms of achieving results that matter in education, and in helping countries leverage the financial resources needed to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

    Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty, raising incomes, promoting economic growth and shared prosperity, and for improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. With 57 million children not in school today and 250 million more not acquiring basic skills necessary for work and life, ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity depend on more and better investments in quality education and learning.

    The Results in Education for All Children (REACH) program aims to support efforts toward more and better education services, especially to those most excluded, by helping country systems focus more sharply on results. In line with the World Bank Group’s education sector strategy, REACH will support the Bank’s efforts to build evidence on what works for a systems approach to education reforms and investments, working in complementarity with SABER (the Systems Approach for Better Education Results).

    Results-focused modalities are known as results-based financing, performance-based incentives, pay for performance, performance-based contracting, conditional cash transfers, cash on delivery, to name a few. Choosing the incentive mechanism that best fits an intervention in a particular context and obtains the greatest impact is one of the challenges for the World Bank Group and its clients. To help build the evidence base, REACH will fund:

    1. Country program grants

    2. Knowledge, Learning and Innovation activities

    To find out about our most recent Call for Proposals click here.

    Please check back for more information on REACH activities. 

    REACH is currently funded by the Government of Norway through NORAD, the Government of the United States of America through USAID, and by the Government of Germany through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.



    • Results in Education for All Children (REACH) Trust Fund – Knowledge, Learning and Innovation Grant | Background Information | Call 4

    Past Call for Proposals:

    • Results in Education for All Children (REACH) Trust Fund – Knowledge, Learning and Innovation Grant: REACH for Reading | Background Information | Call 3
    • Results in Education for All Children (REACH) Trust Fund – Knowledge, Learning and Innovation Grant | Background Information | Call 2



    Upcoming Events:

    • Operational Clinic for World Bank Task Teams: Performance-Based School Grants | June 28, 2017 | If interested, please contact

    Past Events:

    • Operational Panel: Program-for-Results (PforR) in Education: Towards Strengthening Institutions and Financing Results | May 10, 2017 | Link to “Twelve Ideas for Effective Education PforRs”  
    • RBF on Trial: Why and when to use Results-Based Financing Instruments | May 8, 2017
    • Expert panel: RBF in Education: Financing Results to Strengthen Systems. Building Evidence in Education (BE2) meeting | Florence, Italy | April 5, 2017 | Link to the WBG Strategy Paper on RBF in Education 
    • Expert Panel: Innovative Financing in Education. Co-hosted with Results for Development (R4D) | March 23, 2017 | Link to Video of the discussion
    • Expert Panel: RBF: Silver bullet or scattershot? Comparative International Education Society (CIES) Annual Conference | Atlanta, Georgia| March 5, 2017
    • Expert Round Tables: How are Schools like Clinics? Social Protection and Labor (SP&L), Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) and Education (EDU) joining Forces on RBF | November 22, 2016 | Link to Final Conclusions: How are Schools like Clinics in RBF
    • Workshop: Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) Variable Tranche for World Bank Group Task Team Leaders (TTLs) | October 13, 2016 | Link to Do’s and Don’ts on the Variable Tranche
    • Training: Program for Results (PforR) in Education. Co-hosted with Education Staff Development Program (ESDP) and Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) | September 27, 2016 | Links to the presentations: PforR Overview by OPCS, Lessons from India, Vietnam, Lebanon and Tanzania PforRs
    • Expert Panel: Paradigm Shift or Latest Fashion? Results Based Financing in Education | Oslo, Norway | June 16, 2016 | Link to Video of the Talk Show and Video of Sonia Khouri (RACE Program Manager, Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education) describing RBF from government’s point of view
    • Debate: Fiscal Transfers Don’t Generate Results. Co-hosted with Governance Global Practice | May 4, 2016  | Links to Video of the debate, Notes of the Event, Presentations of the Mozambique and Argentina cases.
    • Brown Bag Lunch (BBL): Beyond Test Scores: Measuring Education Quality in Colombia | April 7, 2016 | Link to Presentation
    • Brown Bag Lunch (BBL): The Promise and Potential of RBF in Education. Global Partnership on Education event: | March 22, 2016 | Link to Presentation on Tanzania’s Big Results Now
    • Debate: Can School Grants Buy Learning? | November 24, 2015 | Link to Video of the debate and Blog

    REACH for Reading Webinars:

    REACH Knowledge, Learning and Innovation Grantees:

    2015 | 2016

    Related World Bank Resources:

    Development Financing for Results

    The Rise of Results-Based Financing in Education

    RBF in Health

    Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF)

    External Resources:

    Results for Development

    Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid

    Strange Football: Education Programs Rarely Keep Score

    Can Results Based Financing in education improve learning outcomes?

    The potential and limitations of impact bonds: Lessons from the first five years of experience worldwide

    OECD – DFID Review of Major RBA and RBF Schemes

    Center for Global Development - Resources on RBF

    Cordaid Report on RBF

    How results-based financing can help achieve the SDGs: dealing with a refugee crisis

    Does 'skin in the game'​ improve the level of play? The experience of Payment by Results (PbR) on the Girls'​ Education Challenge (GEC)

    Literature and Further Reading:

    Eric Hanushek: The Failure of Input-Based School Finance Policies

    Steven Kerr: On the Folly or Rewarding A, and Hoping for B

    Derek Neal: Pay for Performance in Education

    Clist and Verschoor: The Conceptual Basis of Payment by Results

    DFID’s report on Payment by Results

    USAID’s Incentives and Accountability in Education: A Review

    Ariely and others: Large Stakes and Big Mistakes

    German Development Institute’s Improving Education Outcomes by Linking Payments to Results

    Center for Global Development’s Cash on Delivery Program as it relates to education

    World Bank Education Sector Strategy: Learning for All

    12 Principles for Payment By Results (PbR) In International Development