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  • Community-driven development (CDD) programs operate on the principles of transparency, participation, accountability, and enhanced local capacity.

    Experience has shown that when given clear and transparent rules, access to information, and appropriate technical and financial support, poor communities can effectively organize to identify community priorities and address local problems by working in partnership with local governments and other institutions to build small-scale infrastructure and deliver basic services.

    The World Bank recognizes that CDD approaches and actions are important elements of an effective poverty-reduction and sustainable development strategy.

    In many countries, CDD operations are the only safety net available to reach remote and vulnerable groups in a timely and credible manner. They have a strong track record in moving funds quickly and flexibly in response to disasters and global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, as a complement to household cash transfers, community-level (block) grants that are based on community emergency plans can be distributed to rural villages and urban neighborhoods since community leaders often know best what the specific needs are in each community. 

    The Bank has supported governments in designing, implementing, and evaluating CDD programs across a range of low to middle-income countries, including countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence. The programs respond to a variety of urgent needs including access to clean water, rural roads, school and health clinic construction, nutrition programs for mothers and infants, and support for micro-enterprises.  These programs have consistently shown an ability to deliver an increase in access to quality infrastructure and services in a cost-effective manner, in ways that have broad community support.

    Last Updated: Mar 19, 2021

  • Over the past decades, CDD approaches have been used by many national governments as a key operational strategy to address poverty and inequality. The approach of partnering with communities and local units of government, including putting resources under 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. 

    As of June 2020, there were 327 active CDD projects in 90 countries – including 71 countries supported by the International Development Association (IDA) – for a total lending of $33 billion (65% of which is IDA).  An additional $33.8 billion was provided by borrowers and other donors. CDD approaches are particularly prominent in conflict, fragile, and violent (FCV) situations. As of June 2020, the global active CDD-FCV portfolio covered 27 of the 37 countries (73%) on the FY20 Harmonized List of Fragile Situations, as well as 15 other countries that are experiencing subnational conflict, hosting internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugees, or are recovering from conflict.

    CDD programs have evolved over time and have adapted to vast differences in local contexts, delivering tangible results on the ground in some of the most geographically remote and operationally hard-to-reach areas on the globe. 

    Moving forward, the World Bank is leveraging the opportunities that CDD approaches offer, including delivering increased engagement in situations of fragility, conflict, and violence, and deepening understanding and new approaches in the following key frontier areas:

    • Responding to the impact of COVID-19, including to support prevention, mitigation and recovery.  Lessons from previous pandemics, including the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, highlight the importance of social responses to crisis management and recovery to complement medical efforts.  In the case of COVID-19, partnerships between communities, healthcare systems, local governments, and the private sector can play a critical role in slowing the spread, mitigating impacts, and supporting local recovery.  Such partnerships can support communications and behavior change for prevention, provide a rapid emergency response in the short term, and mitigate economic impacts and build resilience for the future.  A portfolio of existing CDD operations offers platforms ready to support immediate action, and with the potential for supporting longer-term recovery and resilience.
    • Supporting local economic development. Building on successful experiences of programs in South Asia as well as Latin America and the Caribbean regions, work is underway to expand the use of CDD approaches in supporting local economic development.  This responds to high and growing demand, including in middle-income countries and urban countries, and includes work to support market-oriented investments and value chain opportunities, as well as increasing community level access to finance.
    • Operating in situations of fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV).  CDD programs have proved particularly effective in FCV situations.  A 2016 review by the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) found CDD approaches to be among the most frequent operational approach in the World Bank Group’s FCV portfolio.  This is linked, in part, to the ability of CDD programs to reach remote or insecure areas effectively and at scale, and their track record in delivering results quickly and in an inclusive manner.  The importance of inclusive service provision to prevent conflict was highlighted in the recent UN-World Bank flagship study Pathways for Peace, and the World Bank has launched a global innovation and learning program to foster the contributions of CDD programs in conflict prevention. 
    • Seizing opportunities for convergence with sector programs and with formal decentralization reforms. When operating well, CDD programs can offer an effective local development platform that can assist the targeting, cost efficiency, service quality, and overall accountability of sector programs. It can embed principles of transparency, accountability, and participation into the entire sub-national governance system, but this may require enabling environments and policy-level reforms, including fiscal decentralization.
    • Combatting the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations. As the climate continues to change, millions of vulnerable people face greater challenges in terms of extreme events, health effects, food and water security, livelihood security, and migration. The World Bank supports CDD approaches and devolved climate finance that empower communities to drive a climate agenda in support of their development goals and promote greater transparency and accountability on climate finance for local stakeholders.

    The World Bank is taking up these opportunities 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: Mar 19, 2021

  • 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 much wider, often national, coverage that have become part of formal decentralization strategies and have addressed multi-sectoral issues.

    Indonesia: Launched in 2018 and building on the successful structures created under previous CDD programs, the Investing in Nutrition and Early Years project is a flagship initiative by the government of Indonesia to prevent childhood stunting and invest in human capital.  This cross-sectoral effort supports the implementation of the government’s National Strategy to Accelerate Stunting Prevention. Launched by the Indonesian Vice President in August 2017, the strategy commits 23 ministries, 514 regional governments, and 75,000 villages to converge priority interventions across health, water and sanitation, early childhood education, social protection, and agriculture and food security sectors for households with pregnant mothers and children under age two.

    Afghanistan: The Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project aims to reach 10 million in its first phase, providing people access to basic services for water, roads, irrigation, electricity and monitoring of education and health services. The project works through a participatory community-driven development approach aimed at increasing citizen satisfaction and trust in government, and has reached 13.6 million beneficiaries. In addition, 7,172 water, irrigation, electricity, transport, school, and other projects are underway.  Participation rates in local development council elections are high at 77% overall, and even higher among women (78%) and among persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and returnees (83%).  Additional financing was approved to support an emergency response to the regional displacement crisis that Afghanistan is facing through the rapid influx of over one million expected returnees from Pakistan and other countries.The project builds on the foundation of the National Solidarity Program (NSP) – the government’s principal community development program, which mobilized almost $2.5 billion and worked through more than 33,000 community-elected Community Development Councils in all 34 provinces of the country to finance over 81,000 community-level infrastructure programs 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 in roads; provide access to improved water sources to more than 11.7 million people by constructing approximately 86,300 improved community water points, resulting in a 5% reduction of time households spent collecting water, especially women; generate 32 megawatts of power; irrigate more than 524,000 hectares of land; and build almost 2,000 classrooms. These vital rural infrastructure works have generated over 52 million days of paid short-term employment for the Afghan people. NSP’s independent impact evaluation found increased school attendance, higher quality of girls’ education, a 15% increase in the use of protected water sources, a 5% reduction in the time households spend collecting water, a 26% increase in electricity usage, as well as improved access to education, healthcare, and counseling services for women.

    Afghanistan is using the Citizen’s Charter project to mobilize communities to lead public awareness campaigns on COVID-19. Village leaders are sharing life-saving information during small gatherings, where attendees observe strict social distancing and other prevention measures. The government is now expanding the program along with the Afghan Communities and Households (REACH) project to reach 90% of the country – or 34 million people.

    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 362,620  rural inhabitants in 656 highly vulnerable communities (30% above the target of 500 communities), and supported 880 sub-projects to improve access to basic and productive infrastructure for rural households. To date, the project has increased road access for more than 29,866  people, and expanded or improved irrigation for more than 73,638  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 from $1.2 billion to $2.1 billion over five years. The World Bank supported the second phase of INDH through its first Program-for-Results operation, focusing on enhancing access and quality in service provision; strengthening participatory local governance and social accountability; enhancing economic inclusion; and supporting capacity and systems development. From 2005 to 2015, over 45,000 community-driven sub-projects were financed, providing more than 10 million beneficiaries with access to basic social and economic infrastructure services and training.  The INDH impact evaluation showed: an 86% increase in the number of households with access to improved water supply; 84% of girls in project-supported dormitories graduating to the next grade; a 21% increase in average household income; and 62% increased access to basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, sanitation, schools, and local health centers.

    Nigeria: The Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) supported more than 15, 111   community-managed micro-projects and benefitted over 9.3  million people across 30  states. An impact evaluation of CSDP indicated reduced maternal and child mortality; increased school enrolment and attendance; reduced distance, cost and time of accessing water, healthcare services, and electricity; and increased earnings from farming. This led some states and local governments to adopt the CDD approach and increase local budget allocations to community-led activities. The World Bank approved an additional loan of $75 million to expand welfare provision and enhance services to communities, especially the internally displaced affected by the conflict in Northeast Nigeria.

    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, including in insecure or inaccessible areas. CDD has been used in several fragile and conflict-affected states in the Africa region (for example, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of CongoGuinea-BissauLiberiaMali, and South Sudan), as well as in AfghanistanMyanmar, and Solomon Islands.

    Last Updated: Mar 19, 2021


Jan 26, 2021

The Next Generation of CDD


Susan Wong

Lead Social Development Specialist, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice


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