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Community-Driven Development Overview


    Community-driven development (CDD) programs operate on the principles of local empowerment, participatory governance, demand-responsiveness, administrative autonomy, greater downward accountability, and enhanced local capacity.

    Experience has shown that when given clear explanations of the process, access to information and 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 directly. The Bank has used the CDD approach across a range of countries to support a variety of urgent needs, including water supply and sewer rehabilitation, school and health post construction, nutrition programs for mothers and infants, building of rural access roads, and support for micro-enterprise.


    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, Community-driven development (CDD) has become a key operational strategy for many national governments for the delivery of services because of its approach towards empowering local decision-making and putting resources in the direct control of community groups. To date, approximately 105 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) countries have undertaken projects with a CDD approach.

    Between fiscal years 2002 and 2011, IBRD/IDA approved 734 projects that adopted a CDD approach either as a whole or in specific components. Total Bank lending towards CDD, directly managed and controlled by communities and local governments, was US$22.5 billion, averaging US$2.2 billion per year (with a spike in FY10 based on several large projects approved in East and South Asia). The number of CDD projects approved each year between FY02 and FY10 remained fairly consistent, with a slight drop in FY11, although the CDD lending amount for that year (US$2.6 billion) was comparable to CDD lending prior to FY10 since there were several large projects approved in Africa and East and South Asia.

    Linking local and Community-driven development requires an approach that combines multiple disciplines and sectors, along with improvements within governments in the decentralization of resources to local authorities, as well as in governance and accountability systems. The World Bank, with its expertise in a wide range of sectors, has provided 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 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 scaling-up to a regional or national levels. The types of sectoral expertise required to support these programs are diversifying as these flexible programs have adapted to growing local needs.
    • 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 social 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, particularly with regard to fiscal decentralization.  
    • Monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems could be improved. The dispersed implementation, along with multiple activities and transactions involved in a CDD project can lead to challenges in putting a reliable management information system in place to capture basic project information, which then needs to be analyzed in a timely manner in order to inform management decision-making.  Additionally, while there are more impact evaluations for CDD projects than 10 years ago, these are still few in number. More attention is being paid to increasing the number of strategic impact evaluations in order to build a better evidence base.

    In recent years, the World Bank has increasingly focused on lending to Community-driven development (CDD) programs in order to let communities lead their own development. CDD approaches have been used to support a wide range of local development and service delivery needs identified by communities themselves, including water supply and sewerage rehabilitation, school and health facilities construction, nutrition programs for mothers and infants, rural access roads, and support for livelihoods and microenterprises. CDD programs that operated as small stand-alone operations have gradually expanded to much larger (often national) coverage that have become part of formal decentralization strategies. IBRD countries are increasingly seeking Bank financing to apply CDD approaches for urban upgrading in an effort to build more socially resilient cities. In Brazil, for example, the Recife Urban Development and Social Inclusion Project supports the upgrading of slums in the Capibaribe River basin of the city and promotes the integrated and sustainable development of the region using active stakeholder participation.

    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 Pakistan flood crisis, the Second Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund was used to provide rapid response to the tragedy and facilitate linkages between partner organizations for disaster response. The World Bank provided strong support for flood recovery, including US$125 million to finance cash transfers to about 1.4 million flood-affected families.

    Increasingly, as discussed in the 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development, the CDD approach has also become a preferred operational strategy in post-conflict and fragile situations, where states face a legacy of weak capacity and legitimacy. CDD operations have been used for economic reconstruction, supporting local coalition building, strengthening relations between the state and citizens at the local level, and fostering social cohesion, in several countries, including Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Nepal, Sudan, and Timor-Leste.

    Indonesia: The National Program for Community Empowerment - PNPM Mandiri (FY09-12, IBRD US$4.1 billion over four years in rural and urban areas) builds on 10 years of successful CDD experience in the Kecamatan Development Program (KDP) and the Urban Poverty Program (UPP) which was implemented between FY99-FY11. The PNPM-Rural program has demonstrated significant impacts in terms of poverty reduction. Benefits are heavily skewed towards the poor with the two lowest quintiles of participating population receiving the largest share of project benefits. Household expenditures among the poor increased by an average of 11 percent as a result of project investments, benefitting approximately 45 million poor people. Meanwhile, infrastructure built by the community is 30-50 percent cheaper than building it through normal government systems, with 85 percent of it found to be in good to very good condition five years after completion. 

    Evaluation results from PNPM-Generasi have showed significant impact on health and education indicators, with strong improvements in the frequency of weight checks for young children, supported by dramatic increases in mothers and children participating in village health post activities to receive the targeted maternal, neonatal and child health services.  Child malnutrition was reduced 10 percent from the control level. Education indicators also saw some improvements, notably in a 0.8 percent rise in school participation rate among the primary school-age group. 

    Brazil: The Rural Poverty Reduction Project, Brazil Rio Grande do Norte (FY02 IBRD US$45 million) was implemented using Northeast Brazil’s decentralized CDD model, under which rural communities — represented in participatory municipal councils with majority community membership — select, prepare, implement, operate, and maintain priority investments.  It delivered socio-economic investments in water supply, electricity, agro-processing facilities, livestock and food production to 2,100 community associations representing 400,000 poor rural people, creating 12,000 jobs and improving beneficiary families’ incomes and social welfare. The community associations’ newfound role in the municipal councils improved local governance and enhanced the relationship between poor communities and state and local authorities.

    Azerbaijan: The Rural Investment Project (FY04, IDA US$15 million plus US$15 million additional financing), designed to improve living standards by building better access to and use of community rural infrastructure, has successfully supported the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure in poor rural communities across the country. At project completion, travel time to secondary school and markets had been reduced by 47 percent and 26 percent respectively where the project had rehabilitated rural roads. Moreover, 78 percent of farm products are now transported to markets by farmers themselves, a significant advantage compared to non-beneficiary villages in the same region where only 18 percent of farm products are brought directly to markets by farmers. Primary school enrollment has increased by 25 percent following rehabilitation of school buildings. The success of this project resulted in a second project funded by the Bank in FY12.

    Benin: In the National Community-driven development Project (FY05, IDA US$50 million plus US$12 million additional financing), 1,518 communities (40 percent of the communities in Benin) completed 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 constructed or rehabilitated 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 in the access of rural populations to improved water concentrated among the poorest populations. An additional 38,000 people (77 percent women) in 512 previously unserved communities gained access to micro-finance services  At the national and sectoral level, the project was successful in using a structured approach to integrating CDD into national policies and sectoral strategies.

    Morocco: The National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), Morocco (Phase 1, 2005-2010, US$1.1 billion, of which IBRD financed US$100 million) program relied on bottom-up participation and planning to improve living standards and give greater voice to the poor in targeted communities. The INDH also supported access of vulnerable groups to social and economic services delivered by government and non-governmental organizations. More than 22,000 sub-projects were financed reaching over 5 million beneficiaries, and the evaluations currently underway of the first phase are showing impressive results: (i) 19 percent of vulnerable households reported that they participated in all or part of the INDH participatory process; (ii) 62 percent of households and 60 percent of women in the target communities reported increased access and use of basic infrastructure after sub-project implementation; and (iii) 46 percent of households reported that their livelihood has improved. Following on the successful completion of this project, a second phase (INDH 2, US$300 million) was approved that will support income-generating activities, improved access to basic services, and key infrastructure in the poorest regions of Morocco.

    Mongolia: The Mongolia Sustainable Livelihoods Project (FY08, IDA US$33.5 million) and the Sustainable Livelihoods Project II (2008-2012) aim to enhance livelihood security and sustainability by scaling up institutional mechanisms that reduce the vulnerability of communities throughout Mongolia. The project is structured around three components — Pastoral Risk Management; Community Initiatives; and Microfinance Development — and has benefited over 1.7 million people, two-thirds of the population. More than 36,000 herders 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 either directly or indirectly, leading to improved livelihoods. At the policy level, the CDD approach to community infrastructure provision has been adopted as the model for local budget preparation and execution under the new Integrated Budget Law that is being implemented throughout the country from January 1, 2013. Overall, the innovations introduced and the use of the participatory approach in local budget preparation and execution are integral to Mongolia's strategy for achieving inclusive green growth, helping to ensure that the benefits of the country's significant and rapidly growing mineral wealth can be more widely shared with communities across the country.


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

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