Wednesday, September 26, 2012

World Bank to grant community-controlled loans to Burma

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:22 Mizzima News

The World Bank is preparing two grants, totaling US$ 85 million, to rural areas in Burma through community-driven development programs.

The World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo: Shiny Things / wikipedia

The program will offer control over decision-making and resources to local residents for projects involving infrastructure, service delivery and livelihood support to their community.

Under the community-driven approach, residents elect representative local councils that follow clear and simple processes to identify priority needs, prepare community development plans, design priority projects, contract materials and labor, and manage and report on project funds, said the bank in an announcement on its website on Tuesday.

Key design features include annual block grant allocations to communities for typically three to five years; a strong emphasis on capacity building of the communities; support for communities; and an open menu of options where communities can choose whichever investment addresses their priority needs best, said the World Bank.

The grants are for two separate projects: an $80 million project which would be implemented in select townships in each of the country’s regions and states, and a $5 million project that would provide additional assistance to communities affected by conflict. In the conflict-affected areas, the World Bank would support communities only when all sides are in agreement.

The bank plans to bring the $80 million grant to its directors for approval in October. The design of the $5 million grant would build on the lessons from the pilot projects that are currently underway in the conflict-affected areas under the Myanmar Peace Support Initiative, it said.

The World Bank has over 25 years of experience in implementing community-driven programs. The approach is now applied in over 90 countries, such as Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, and India. Since 2001, the World Bank has approved over 750 projects using such methods.

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