World Bank funds to go directly to the people [Archives:2007/1113/Local News]

December 20 2007

ADEN, Dec. 16 ) World Bank consultant Ismail M. Sharif recently announced that the Bank would conduct a five-nation study, which includes Yemen, about possibly directly funding local communities for development projects without going thruogh central governmental offices, or the districts' local councils.

Additionally, he pointed out, “The World Bank previously funded projects via central governmental offices in their respective countries, but it found that a large proportion of those funds don't adequately go to those deserving them, instead being used for administrative expenses.”

Sharif's comments came during his Dec. 14 visit to Al-Shatari Cooperative and Agricultural Society based in Al-Hutah in Lahj governorate, where he met with the society's leaders and several of its contributors with a view to preparing the required study to transfer funds from the center directly to the districts.

He further noted that the World Bank has begun changing its methodology via direct contact with targeted beneficiaries forming what's called beneficiary committees to supervise the planning, implementation and evaluation of the development projects.

Consequently, a study is being conducted in five countries: Yemen, Ethiopia, India, Afghanistan and Vietnam, wherein the effectiveness of this new approach is being studied.

One of the organizations at the local levels will be selected through thorough evaluation of its goals, structure, work scheme, contact methods, services delivered to targeted beneficiaries, challenges and problems, as well as its future vision, in order to be selected as the WB's local partner.

“At the end of the study, we expect to answer the following essential question: Will the World Bank be able fund districts directly without referring to the main center? Implementation will be through the partnership of civil society organizations, cooperative associations and local authorities, among others,” Sharif noted.

“Preliminary indicators reveal that there's a possibility for direct cooperation at the district level, despite some gaps related to capacity-building. There's also a mechanism for such coordination and partnership between the appropriate bodies,” he concluded.