Community Driven Development (CDD) programs operate on the principles of transparency, participation, local empowerment, demand-responsiveness, greater downward accountability, and enhanced local capacity.

Experience has shown that when given clear and transparent rules, access to information, appropriate capacity, and financial support, poor men and women can effectively organize to identify community priorities and address local problems by working in partnership with local governments and other supportive institutions.

The World Bank recognizes that CDD approaches and actions are important elements of an effective poverty reduction and sustainable development strategy. The Bank has supported CDD across a range of low to middle income, and conflict-affected, countries to support a variety of urgent needs, including water supply and sanitation, school and health post-conflict construction, nutrition programs for mothers and infants, rural access roads, and support for micro-enterprises.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2016

CDD has been used by many national governments since 2000 as a key operational strategy to address poverty and equity. The approach of empowering local decision-making and putting resources in the direct control of community groups has led to the efficient delivery of basic services and, when sustained over time, measurable reductions in poverty, particularly among the poorest populations and communities. To date, approximately 116 member countries of the World Bank have undertaken projects that apply a CDD approach. Over the past decade, the Bank has approved approximately 520 such operations worth nearly $28 billion.

These programs are increasingly faced with the need to adapt to vast differences in local contexts, strengthen local institutions, and foster greater ownership and community-based support for development. While the potential and benefits of CDD approaches are generally recognized, there are also several challenges and limitations to the approach, which need to be addressed carefully in the design and implementation of future CDD projects. These are:

  • New models of implementation support are required as CDD programs expand. While the first generation of CDD projects were often small-scale operations that worked outside formal government systems, the second and third generations of these programs are often expanding to regional or national levels. Legal frameworks and systems need to be revised and adapted to ensure quality and sustainability.
  • The need for convergence with sector programs and with formal decentralization reforms is growing. When operating well, CDD programs can offer an effective local development platform that can assist the targeting, cost efficiency, service quality, and overall accountability of sector programs. It can embed principles of transparency, accountability and participation into the entire sub-national governance system, but this may require enabling environments and policy-level reforms, including with regard to fiscal decentralization.
  • Urban applications. As the world is rapidly urbanizing, a challenge for the CDD community is how best to apply the lessons learned from what has been primarily a rural development strategy to the challenges of the urban context. Early indications are that while some CDD principles have immediate application, other standard operating procedures need to be adapted to the different contexts. Nonetheless, the value of participation and community monitoring is recognized, particularly in the upgrading of informal settlements.
  • Supporting livelihoods. While the application of CDD to support public investments and services (such as roads, schools, clinics, etc.) is a widely used and tested approach, supporting private goods and market-oriented investments has proven less successful. Nonetheless, demand is high and growing, especially in middle income countries and urban contexts, and further analysis is needed to distill the elements and conditions for success in regions such as South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The World Bank is taking up these emerging challenges through targeted analytical work, technical assistance to flagship programs around the world, quality assurance support through information and knowledge exchange, and staff skills development.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2016

In recent years, the World Bank has increasingly focused on lending to CDD programs. Many of those that began as small stand-alone operations have gradually expanded to much larger (often national) coverage that have become part of formal decentralization strategies.

Myanmar:  The National CDD Program started in 2012 with the World Bank’s re-engagement with the country, and was the first World Bank project in Myanmar. In the first two years of project implementation, communities built or rehabilitated more than 500 schools, constructed over 500 km of footpaths and access roads, and jointly designed and implemented more than 2,100 sub-projects. To date, the project has created more than 500,000 paid person days of labor. Over 5,000 additional sub-projects are expected to be constructed as part of the ongoing community cycle in villages that are home to three million people.

Azerbaijan: The Second Rural Investment Project supports the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and financing of livelihood activities. Through additional financing, the project is expected to reach over 3.5 million beneficiaries in 1,800 poor rural communities across the country. As of March 2016, over 1,200 sub-projects and six livelihood pilot initiatives have been completed, with another 95 sub-projects under implementation. Impact evaluation results indicate that mobility, access to services and markets and farmer productivity have all increased as a result of the rehabilitation of rural roads, with travel times to schools and markets reduced by 47 percent and 26 percent respectively, and primary school enrollment increased by 25 percent after school rehabilitation.

Laos: The $36.6 million second phase of Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF II) started in 2011 to help improve access to and utilization of basic infrastructure and services to targeted poor communities. So far, more than 560,000 members of the rural population in the government of Laos’ 44 priority districts benefited from an improved access to infrastructure through more than 1,400 sub-projects.  The PRF II also assisted villagers organize Self-Help Groups (SHG) in selected villages as the institutional platform to provide targeted support to poorer segments of villagers such as food production for improved dietary intake, and basic sanitation.  Results achieved include a 35% increase in access to health and a 48% increase in access to all weather roads in the project’s targeted areas.

Nepal: The $245 million Poverty Alleviation Fund II commenced in 2007 with an aim to improve living conditions, livelihoods and empowerment among the rural poor, with particular attention to groups that have traditionally been excluded for reasons of gender, ethnicity, caste, and location. The project is now operating in 55 districts and has made agreements with 25,139 Community Organizations (COs) and 74% of CO members are female. The project has to date directly benefitted 716,385 households and, through infrastructure sub-projects, indirectly benefitted an additional 50,663 households. About 64% of these households fall under the category of ultra-poor—indicating food sufficiency for less than three months. The project’s impact evaluation showed that the project resulted in a 22% increase in real per capita consumption of households within the first three years, with a 7% increase in household consumption over the medium term. Additionally, the evaluation indicated that each year of PAF exposure reduced incidence of food insecurity by 19%, and increased school enrollment by 17% among 6 to 15 year olds. The project has been recently restructured to accommodate the reconstruction needs of the communities in 14 districts affected by the earthquake in April/May 2015.

Benin: The $76 million Decentralized Community Driven Services Project (PSDCC) aims to support the Government of Benin’s decentralization policy by helping local governments to work with poor communities to improve basic service delivery.  Under the project, about 1,000 communities have signed or will sign contracts with local governments to carry out low-complexity infrastructure sub-projects in education, health, water, commerce (public markets), and rural roads.

CDD has also proven useful in responding to conflict and fragility, and in post-disaster contexts, as it has shown to be fast, flexible and effective at re-establishing basic services. In fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS), the approach has also helped rebuild social capital and trust within communities, and between communities and governments. CDD has been used in several FCS countries in the Africa region (for example, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, and South Sudan), as well as in Afghanistan and Myanmar.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2016

People will benefit from Myanmar National CDD Project in its first year of operation.
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