World Bank and Partners Award Over US$650,000 to Innovative Poverty Reduction Projects

February 24, 2006

BEIJING, February 24, 2006 - The China Development Marketplace, a new initiative of the World Bank to support and strengthen grassroots civil society organizations (CSOs) in China, closed today with 30 winners receiving over US$650,000 in grant funding. 


The 30 winners, selected from the 100 finalists, have proposed ways of reducing poverty through a range of innovative approaches, including supplying environmentally sustainable biogas to single mothers in Hubei province; creating support networks for waste collectors in Shenzhen province; and, in Xinjiang, training Muslim children of poor herdsmen in vocational skills using a creative combination of microcredit and apprenticeships.


Another winning project will create community service centers to teach vocational skills to deaf children and young people in Jianxi province. “Teaching sign language not only enhances communication between deaf children and their parents, but also with the wider deaf-mute community throughout China.  Every penny of the China Development Marketplace grant will be spent to promote integration of deaf people in society,”said He Shenghua, the sponsor of the project.


Entitled “Supporting Innovations for Scaling-Up Services that Reach the Poor,” the 2006 China Development Marketplace reflects the World Bank’s commitment to promote the potential of CSOs to improve their communities.


At the Awards Ceremony of the China Development Marketplace, Li Yong, Vice Minister of Finance said in his remarks, This eventis a valuable experiment in the sense that China and the World Bank have worked together to mobilize social resources, identify innovative ideas and support capacities of CSOs and grassroots groups.  Together, we have explored new models and approaches to poverty reduction that are adapted to local conditions.” 


Frannie Leautier, World Bank Institute Vice President, added, China has made significant achievements in poverty reduction but there are still challenges. It is important and necessary for civil society organizations to play a key role to supplement the government's efforts in the fight against poverty.  Often focusing on particular districts, and working closely with local governments, CSO interventions involve capacity building, training and service-delivery in micro-credit, agriculture, off-farm employment, education, health, water and sanitation, and other activities.”


Almost 1,000 applicants from all over China submitted their ideas on how to best reduce poverty, illustrating the large numbers of innovative, local solutions.  The 100 finalists with the best ideas were invited to Beijing for the two-day competition to showcase and share their unique ideas.  In addition to a grant competition, finalists also participated in a Knowledge Forum to help these groups expand their skills and knowledge and to promote connections among these groups.


A diverse and eminent jury selected the winners during the event.  Many of these judges came from China Development Marketplace partner organizations, including government agencies, academia, the nonprofit community, media, Chinese corporations, multinational corporations, and the international donor community. 


Primary partners are the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Finance.  Financial sponsors include the Chinese private sector, such as Red Avenue Chemical Company, Ltd. and XinAo Group; multinational corporations, such as Areva and Intel; and international donors, such as Asian Development Bank, Ford Foundation, and the governments of Norway, Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.  Other partners have contributed in-kind, such as the China NPO Network, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and China Enterprise Confederation.  These and others also participated as members of a Project Management Committee, offering ideas and support. 


Each of the winners received up to US$30,000 to implement their projects.  The other finalists were presented with fax-scanners to enhance their ability to carry out their work. The fax-scanners were provided by the World Bank’s Corporate Strategy and Integrated Risk Management group.


David Dollar, China Country Director of the World Bank, thanked the finalists for their participation in the competition and for the role they are playing to reduce poverty around the country, saying, “In my mind they are all winners because they are doing important and rewarding work on the ground.”

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