Mongolia Development Marketplace Announces Semifinalists

July 10, 2007

Ulaanbaatar, July 09, 2007 – Two hundred short proposals found their way into the next round of the Development Marketplace competition.  These ideas will now have to be developed into detailed project proposals, which will now compete for funding at the Development Marketplace Program to be held in Ulaanbaatar, on September 2007. Almost 1851 ideas were submitted from across the country to find ways to provide better social services for the poor and vulnerable groups in urban and rural areas in Mongolia in innovative and effective ways.

The quality and supply of and access to social services such as infrastructure, education, health, water, ICT etc still fall short. The lack of such services affects everyone, but particularly the disadvantaged such as those living in Ger Districts of Ulaanbaatar and rural Mongolia.  In order to try and find solutions that rely on the community and private initiative the first “Mongolia Development Marketplace-2007” was launched on March 12.

From the 1851 proposals that were submitted nearly half were from rural Mongolia suggesting that the issue of service delivery affects both rural and urban people as much. These ideas focused on how to improve services in education, health and environment issues as well as water, sanitation, energy, Information and Communication Techonogy. 

Seventy assessors who represent MDM partners, development experts and the World Bank had the difficult task of narrowing the proposals to two hundred. All participants were requested to submit their proposals in very brief – not more than 3 pages—to allow as many people and organizations especially from rural and semi-urban areas to participate. “We had to choose 200 projects from 1851 proposals that were submitted.  As you can imagine, this was very tough! Because we had to assess the seed of an idea, not even the idea itself! So, the thanks goes to the partners and assessors who spent their valuable time in evaluating these proposals.”  said Arshad Sayed, Country Manager and Resident Representative, the World Bank in Mongolia.

The projects were assessed with five equally important criteria: innovation, impact and result on poor and vulnerable groups, cost effectiveness/realism, sustainability and scale up potential and replicability. 

Tegshbayar, assessor from Mobicom, partner for Mongolia DM emphasized “openness and principles of the assessment process that has facilitated a competitive, merit-based process based on clear evaluation criteria. She added “Sectoral ideas differ from each other in terms of innovations and approaches to solve the problems so on.” That shows also level of public knowledge and approach on each sector in addition to the social demand as Sunjidmaa Jamba, MDM task leader noted. 

Semi-finalists are invited to Mongolia DM event scheduled on 7 September 2007 in Ulaanbaatar. The event will allow them to present their innovative proposals to public and a distinguished international jury team and participate in various knowledge and networking activities during the event.

“For those who did not make it to the next round, we want to thank you for your time and for your efforts.  And hope that you will continue to pursue your ideas outside of this competition and visit the Marketplace on September 6-7 to join in the knowledge sharing event. For those who have made it to the next round, the challenge is now to make the proposals detailed and specific enough that jurors can get a full sense of what this project can accomplish.” emphasized Arshad Sayed, Country Manager and Resident Representative, the World Bank in Mongolia.

The World Bank will organize information and advisory sessions via local and VC session to semi-finalist on 17-18 July, 2007 to provide technical advice on writing detailed projects and will provide detailed project application form same as they did for this first round.

The World Bank Mongolia office has initiated the first Mongolia Development Marketplace program based on the model of the World Bank’s global competitive grant program. The Development Marketplace is the World Bank’s competitive grant program that provides financial support for the implementation of small, creative, effective and replicable projects. The program’s primary goal is to support creative and innovative solutions to the most pressing social and economic concerns of our time and, furthermore, to expand and replicate successful models.

The Mongolia Development Marketplace-2007 is ensuring partnerships and cooperation at all levels and the World Bank has extended an open invitation to Mongolian governmental organizations, national NGOs, socially responsible corporations and individuals, and international organizations operating in Mongolia to participate in this program as partners.

MDM partners are: the Office of the President, National Development Institute, Global Giving, Sustainable Livelihoods Support Program, German Technical Cooperation Agency, Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency, Open Forum Society, Mobicom Co. Ltd., Xas Bank, Newcom Group, German Embassy, UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, Khan Bank, Information Communication and Technology Authority, Peace Corps Mongolia, Skytel, Mongolian Education Alliance Association and city and aimag center libraries.