• Community-Driven Development (CDD) programs operate on the principles of transparency, participation, 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 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. The Bank has supported CDD across a range of low to middle-income and conflict-affected countries to respond to a variety of urgent needs including water supply and sanitation, rural access roads, school and health clinic construction, nutrition programs for mothers and infants, and support for micro-enterprises.

    Last Updated: Sep 22, 2017

  • CDD has been used by many national governments since 2000 as a key operational strategy to address poverty and inequity. The approach of empowering local decision-making and 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. 

    There are currently 187 active CDD projects in 77 countries totaling US$19.1 billion (of which 70% are IDA or IDA/Blend). An additional $13.4 billion has been provided by borrowers and other donors.  CDD approaches are particularly prominent in conflict and fragile situations. CDD programs operate in 20 countries on the fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS) list and an additional eight countries with internally displaced populations, refugees or conflict zones.

    These programs have evolved over time and have adapted to vast differences in local contexts. While the benefits of CDD approaches are widely 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:

    • The need for convergence with sector programs and with formal decentralization reforms is growing. 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.
    • Urban applications. As the world is rapidly urbanizing, a challenge for the CDD community is how best to apply the lessons learned from what has been primarily a rural development strategy to the challenges of the urban context. Early indications are that while some CDD principles have immediate application, other standard operating procedures need to be adapted to the different challenges of the urban environment. Nonetheless, the value of participation and community monitoring is recognized, particularly in the upgrading of informal settlements.
    • Supporting local economic development. While the application of CDD to support public investments and services (such as roads, schools, clinics, etc.) is a widely used and tested approach, supporting market-oriented investments and value chain opportunities has proven more challenging. Nonetheless, demand is high and growing, especially in middle-income countries and urban contexts, and further analysis is needed to distill the elements of – and conditions for – success of programs, particularly from the South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean regions.

    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 22, 2017

  • 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.

    Afghanistan: The Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project aims to reach 8.5 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.  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 $2.05 billion and worked through more than 35,000 community-elected Community Development Councils in all 34 provinces of the country to finance over 88,000 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 for girls, as well as improved access to education, healthcare, and counseling services for women.

    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 150,000 rural inhabitants in 656 highly vulnerable communities (30% above the target of 500 communities), and supported 769 sub-projects to improve access to basic and productive infrastructure for rural households. To date, the project has increased road access for more than 15,000 people, and expanded or improved irrigation for more than 17,000 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 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 impact evaluation of INDH showed a 21% increase of the average income and 41% increase in household assets in targeted communes, as well as a significant decrease in multidimensional poverty and an improvement in living conditions.

    Myanmar: The National CDD Program was the first World Bank project in Myanmar following the World Bank’s re-engagement with the country in 2012. To date, the project has reached over five million beneficiaries, with over 14,000 sub-projects completed in 47 townships. Communities have built or rehabilitated more than 1,500 schools, constructed over 2,500 kilometers of footpaths and access roads, and generated over 1.2 million paid person-days of labor. The project plans to expand to a total of 63 townships, covering 11,000 villages and 7 million people.

    Nigeria: The Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) supported more than 350,000 community-managed micro-projects and benefitted over 2.5 million people across 28 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. 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, Myanmar and Solomon Islands.

    Last Updated: Sep 22, 2017


VIDEO May 11, 2012

Community Monitoring


Susan Wong

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

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