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. Over the last decade, the Bank has increasingly focused on lending to CDD programs in order to reach local communities in the poorest regions directly. The Bank has used the CDD approach 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 construction, nutrition programs for mothers and infants, rural access roads, and support for micro-enterprises.

Last Updated: Apr 06, 2015

Over the past decade, partly in response to local institutional challenges faced by several countries emerging from financial or political crises in the late 1990s, CDD has become a key operational strategy for many national governments. 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. To date, approximately 110 member countries of the World Bank have undertaken projects with a CDD approach. Over the past 10 years the Bank has approved more than 600 such operations worth more than $28 billion.

Linking local development and CDD requires an approach that combines multiple disciplines and sectors, along with improvements in the decentralization of resources to local authorities, in governance, and in accountability systems. The World Bank, with its expertise in a wide range of sectors, has provided technical assistance and other support through regular development of knowledge products, research, and operational guidelines and standards for community procurement, investment, capacity building, gender inclusion, monitoring and evaluation, and information and communication systems that can be used to enhance the quality of CDD operations in World Bank member countries.

The programs recognize the increasing 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:

  • New models of implementation support are required as CDD programs scale-up. 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 such expansion and mainstreaming efforts 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 help improve the targeting, cost efficiency, service quality, and overall accountability of sector programs. It can help 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 must be adapted to the different context. Nonetheless, the value of participation and community monitoring is recognized, particularly in the upgrading of informal settlements and operational models are being applied. These approaches need to be evaluated carefully and extended if shown to be successful.
  • Drawing together lessons from different regions and GPs. The portfolio of CDD operations has flourished across all six geographic regions and extensively in at least four different global practices. The regional and sectoral variations demonstrate the flexibility of the model and approach and has led to important innovations in its application. However, there is an important imperative to learn and share lessons from across regions and GPs to improve the effectiveness of the approach and to optimize the use of development resources.

Last Updated: Apr 06, 2015

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

Indonesia: the Indonesia National Program for Community Empowerment, known as PNPM Mandiri, is Indonesia’s largest community-driven development program worth approximately $1.2 billion per year. PNPM, which the Bank helped establish and support over the past 15 years, now covers all 72,000 villages and cities in the country, benefiting approximately 45 million poor people. Impact evaluation results (2012) show more than 9% per capita consumption gains for PNPM households (and an almost 12% gain for the poorest households).

Bolivia: the Community Investment in Rural Areas Project; a $40 million project with an overall goal to fight extreme rural poverty among small landholders in Bolivia, particularly among the indigenous populations. Starting in late 2011, the project has transferred responsibility and resources to 551 communities (10% beyond target) and improved access to basic and productive infrastructure for 14,633 rural households. It has financed 612 sub-projects, 40 percent of which were identified and implemented by women. There has been improvement in social capital index in 94 percent of the participating communities. The project complements the Government’s “Patriotic Agenda” that seeks to eradicate extreme poverty and translate prosperity into local principles of well-being, and is perfectly aligned with the Bank’s twin goals. The Government is currently seeking a $60 million credit in additional financing to expand and deepen the success of the project to date.

Azerbaijan: the Second Azerbaijan 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. Results from the first phase of the project indicated that mobility had improved as a result of the rehabilitation of rural roads, with travel times to schools and markets reduced by 47% and 26% respectively, and primary school enrollment increased by 25% after school rehabilitation.

Benin: the National Community-Driven development Project, which closed in 2012, supported 1,518 communities (40 percent of the communities in Benin) to finance infrastructure sub-projects, resulting in the construction or rehabilitation of 3,170 classrooms, 144 health centers, and 101 water and sanitation systems. Some 158,500 students are enrolled in schools supported under the project, representing 10 percent of total primary school enrollment in the country. Over 23,000 people have gained access to an improved water source, about 8 percent of the annual expansion observed among the poorest rural populations. An additional 38,000 people (77% women) in 512 previously unserved communities gained access to micro-finance. The government continues to use the same approach under the ongoing Decentralized Community-Driven Services Project.

Morocco: The first National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) financed more than 22,000 community-driven sub-projects, providing over 5 million beneficiaries with access to basic social and economic infrastructure services, and training. Access to services were reported increased by an average of 78% for men, 70% for women, and 53% for youth (all exceeding initial project targets). External financing for the program was more than doubled by national and local governments, indicating the high levels of support, and more than 50% of beneficiaries participated in the planning and implementation of sub-projects, indicating the degree to which the program principles were upheld. A second phase of the project, begun in 2012, has expanded the target population, geographic scope and resource allocation.

Mongolia: the Second Sustainable Livelihoods Project aims to enhance livelihood security and sustainability by expanding institutional mechanisms that reduce the vulnerability of communities throughout Mongolia. The project has benefited over 1.7 million people, two-thirds of the population. More than 36,000 herders have improved their pastoral risk management skills, over 1,000 hospitals in rural areas have been upgraded, and the proportion of children staying in school dormitories (essential in a nomadic society) increased by 169 percent. Over 39,000 microfinance loans have been made, benefitting over 180,000 people. A Third Sustainable Livelihoods Project, approved in 2014, aims to further institutionalize the program’s approaches through links with the subnational fiscal transfer “Budget Law”.

CDD has also proven useful in responses to natural disasters. Communities are usually the first responders in natural disasters and their active participation and engagement in project planning and implementation have been key factors in the success of many World Bank-financed disaster management projects. In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Urban Community Driven Development Project supported the restoration of basic services and is creating economic opportunities for disadvantaged neighborhoods, as the country continues to rebuild.

More recently, a similar approach was taken in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) struck in late 2013. The National Community Driven Development Project, which was seeking national coverage for all “poor” municipalities to increase access to basic services and reduce poverty, was adjusted to also respond to those better-off locales that had been hit by the typhoon. Further adjustments were made to increase the level of resources allocated to those affected municipalities and to simplify the procedures to accelerate the project’s response to affected communities.

Last Updated: Apr 06, 2015

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