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: Sep 21, 2016

CDD has been used by many national governments since the late 1990s as a key operational strategy to address poverty and inequity, especially in middle-income countries with lagging regions or pockets of poverty, and in conflict-affected situations.

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 115 member countries of the World Bank have undertaken projects that apply a CDD approach; an estimated 79 member countries currently have active CDD projects worth almost $19 billion. Over the past decade, the Bank has approved more than 500 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 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.
  • Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Minorities.  In spite of significant gains in reducing poverty in many countries, indigenous people tend to be socially and economically disadvantaged, representing stubbornly high rates of poverty, exclusion, and vulnerability.   They are estimated to form approximately 15% of the world’s poor, although they make up less than 4% of the global population.  Meeting the WB’s goals of reducing extreme poverty must include a plan to address indigenous peoples’ self-identified needs.  As seen in Bolivia, Laos, Nepal, and Vietnam, CDD serves as a useful approach to recognize the unique cultural contexts and value systems of IPs and provides tailor-make solutions to address their particular circumstances.
  • Adapting CDD for Urban Contexts. With two-thirds of the world’s population expected to move to cities by 2030, we need to respond to client requests to address issues of social exclusion and poor quality of services in urban slum areas.  The urban context presents a different set of challenges for community organizing, citizen engagement, and service delivery, and we need to learn more about various design options that are currently being piloted in several countries.
  • Strengthening the Economic Growth and Job Creation. Jobs and inclusive growth are top priorities on numerous governments’ policy agendas. Many CDD programs support economically productive activities through microcredit programs and building self-help groups – for example, in South Asia – or building economic infrastructure public goods, such as roads, bridges, and agricultural facilities, which provide employment and stimulate higher production and market activity.  Many client governments are interested in exploring how CDD can be used at scale to maximize job creation and economic activity especially for poor, remote communities.  Partnerships with corporations and the private sector are also playing a more prominent role in several countries.

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 by supporting staff skills development.

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2016

In recent years, World Bank support for CDD has increasingly focused on creating national platforms to enhance service delivery and address poverty. Many programs that began as small, stand-alone operations have gradually expanded to encompass much larger (often national) coverage that have become part of formal decentralization strategies.

Afghanistan:  Since its launch in 2003, the National Solidarity Program (NSP) – the government’s principal community development program – has mobilized almost $2.05 billion in donor and government funding. The program worked through more than 35,000 community-elected Community Development Councils (CDCs) in all 34 provinces of the country to finance over 88,000 community-level infrastructure schemes in the areas of water supply and sanitation, rural roads, irrigation, power, health, and education.

From 2003 to 2016, the NSP helped construct or rehabilitate almost 53,600 kilometers of roads; provide access to improved water sources to more than 11.7 million people by constructing approximately 86,300 improved community water points; generate 32 megawatts of power; irrigate more than 524,000 hectares of land; and build almost 2,000 classrooms. These sub-projects have generated over 52 million days of paid short-term employment for the Afghan people.

In 2015, the NSP responded to the government’s launch of the “Jobs for Peace” initiative by providing a “Maintenance Cash Grants scheme” for the maintenance of community infrastructure. Operational in 45 districts in 12 provinces, the scheme is meant to quickly disburse funds directly to rural communities to generate short-term employment.  As of July 2016, a total of 1.9 million labor days have been generated. With an additional financing of $57 million, the grants scheme is expected to expand to all provinces and create over 11 million paid labor days that will directly benefit over 440,000 households.

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 agricultural storage), and rural roads.

The project supports grassroots management training, and includes a community-driven safety nets pilot in 125 poor communities. The pilot uses community-based targeting of the poorest to deliver cash transfers and provide an opportunity to participate in labor-intensive public works to about 13,000 beneficiaries. To date, the project has reached more than 163,000 beneficiaries and created over 368,400 days of employment through its labor-intensive public works sub-projects.

Bolivia: The $40 million Community Investment in Rural Areas Project has an overall goal to fight extreme rural poverty among small landholders, particularly indigenous populations. Starting in late 2011, the project has since transferred responsibility and resources to more than 140,000 rural inhabitants in 656 highly vulnerable communities (30% beyond the target of 500 communities), and supported 735 sub-project to improve access to basic and productive infrastructure for rural households.

To date, the project has increased road access for more than 14,000 people, and expanded or improved irrigation for more than 16,000 beneficiaries. In 2015, the government received a $60 million additional financing credit to expand and deepen the success of the project to reach an additional 200,000 beneficiaries.

Morocco: The National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) was launched in 2005 to improve the living conditions of poor and vulnerable groups through enhanced economic opportunities, better access to basic and social services, and improved governance. Phase 2 of INDH (2011-2015) expanded the target population and geographic scope, from 667 to 1,234 communities, and almost doubled resource allocation from $1.2 billion to $2.1 billion over five years. During the period 2005 to 2015, approximately 44,600 community-driven sub-projects were financed, providing more than 10 million beneficiaries with access to basic social and economic infrastructure services and training. 

The impact evaluation of the first phase of INDH showed a 20% increase in revenues for participating rural households, and 10% increase for urban households, a reduction in child mortality from 6.2 to 0.9 deaths per 1,000 births, and a decrease in malnutrition from 14.4% of the population to 4.3%.

The Bank supported the second phase of INDH through the first Program-for-Results operation; a third phase of INDH has been planned for the period 2016-2020, thanks to strong political support and high-level financial mobilization.

The Philippines:  The Philippines National Community-Driven Development Program aims to empower communities to achieve improved access to services and participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting, and implementation. The program, valued at more than $1.1 billion, including financing from the Asian Development Bank, covers all of the country’s poorest municipalities, which include approximately 25% of the national population.

Started in 2014, the program supports investments that respond to community-identified priorities – such as roads, bridges, schools, or day care centers. To date, the program has reached about 5.3 million beneficiaries and completed almost 7,000 community sub-projects, with approximately 7,500 additional sub-projects in the pipeline. Of particular note, the program is being used to help respond to the widespread destruction caused by Super-typhoon Haiyan.

The program builds on the success of the KALAHI-CIDSS project (2003-2014) in the Philippines, which had contributed to improved household access to municipal centers, increased access to safe drinking water, greater participation in local level government activities, and increased trust within and outside of communities, according to a robust impact evaluation.

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: Sep 21, 2016


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