World Bank Grants Help Haitian Children Get Back to School Following Earthquake

May 27, 2010

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2010 – Two World Bank grants amounting to US$27 million will help more than 600,000 Haitian children get back to school and provide rural communities with basic services and infrastructure following Haiti’s devastating January 12 earthquake.
The funding approved today –US$15 million and US$12 million respectively- is part of the Bank’s ongoing commitment to support Haiti’s recovery in the wake of the disaster that killed more than 230,000 people and caused widespread destruction mainly in the capital Port-au-Prince. Since the earthquake, massive urban-rural migration has put additional strain on rural areas that were already suffering from environmental degradation, unemployment, and severe poverty.
The new funds will allow us to expand two key projects that address urgent recovery and reconstruction needs while benefiting Haitian children and rural citizens,” said Haiti’s Minister of Economy and Finance Ronald Baudin.
The US$15 million grant builds upon the successful implementation of the Community-Driven Development Project (PRODEP), originally supported by two grants from the International Development Association (IDA) for a total of US$46 million. The new grant will expand the direct transfer of funds to local community organizations to improve their access to basic social and economic infrastructure and income-generating activities, benefiting approximately 1.2 million rural residents over the life of the project.

The project was designed to support local community-based organizations and provide means for citizens to address their most pressing investment needs by proposing, selecting, implementing, and maintaining sub-projects. In the coming phase, the project will expand this approach to support the government’s medium- to long-term territorial development and decentralization strategy.

Specifically, the additional funds will support the following activities:

  • Approximately 136 additional small-scale investments (with an average cost of US$20,000 each) in 27 municipalities. The investments are identified by community organizations and prioritized in project development councils.
  • 80 sub-projects (at a maximum cost of US$55,000 each) in 59 municipalities addressing the impact of the January 2010 earthquake.
  • Provide resources and training in basic management, administration, accounting and financial management
  • Promote sharing of experiences and knowledge between municipal and regional representatives, and local councils.

To date, PRODEP has focused on community sub-projects that include: basic infrastructure (development of roads, collection source and drinking water, construction of irrigation canals, electrification); productive projects (community stores, shops for agricultural inputs, grain mills); and social centers (community centers, cyber centers, vocational training facilities).

These grants are designed to directly support the Government of Haiti’s development strategy while focusing on some of the country’s most pressing needs,” said Yvonne Tsikata, World Bank Director for the Caribbean. “Restoring education services and tackling the basic socioeconomic infrastructure needs of rural communities will contribute to Haiti's recovery after the quake.”
The second US$12 million grant approved today for the Education for All Project aims to improve access to and equity of primary education. While the ultimate goal is to ensure universal access to free basic education in Haiti, following the earthquake and in the near future, the government seeks to help as many children as possible return to school. In this context, the project takes into account the important role that both the public and private sectors can play in the immediate response and in setting foundations for a stronger education sector in Haiti.

The original project was approved in April 2007 and is jointly financed by IDA and the Caribbean Development Bank. The additional funds will:

  • Increase the number of beneficiaries under the school feeding program from 75,000 to 210,000 children per year.
  • Increase the number of students receiving tuition waivers from 250,000 to 390,000 children per year.
  • Provide additional institutional support to the Ministry of Education and Professional Training and its regional units.

The project will provide guidance to the Ministry of Education and Professional Training to lead policy dialogue and to coordinate significant resources over the next years. The additional funds will also help further improve the oversight of the education sector at the local level, and pilot new approaches for improving education, in partnership with communities.

World Bank Support to Haiti
The World Bank is a major donor to Haiti. Since 2005, including the funding announced today, the Bank has approved US$399 million of IDA resources for Haiti, in addition to more than US$60 million from trust funds since 2003. There are 15 active International Development Association (IDA) investment projects in Haiti, focusing on infrastructure development and reconstruction (transport, electricity, water and sanitation), disaster risk management, education, economic governance, community-driven development, agriculture, and avian flu prevention and control. All World Bank funding has been in grant form since mid-2005.
To help Haiti recover from the January 12 earthquake, the World Bank is providing US$189 million in additional grant funding through June 2011, as well as around US$40 million already planned. Of the new funding, US$39 million will go to cancel Haiti’s remaining debt to IDA. Most of Haiti’s debt to IDA (US$542 million) was canceled in June 2009, via the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).

Furthermore, most pre-existing IDA investment projects are being redeployed to address the crisis.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank, in March approved US$35 million of private sector investments, and expects to approve US$25 million more by June 2011.

Media Contacts
Alejandro Cedeño
Tel : (202) 473-3477
Stevan Jackson
Tel : (202) 458-5054