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PublicationMicroinsurance : Extending Pro-Poor Risk Management through the Social Fund Platform(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10) Maleika, Marc; Kuriakose, Anne T.Microinsurance (MI) can be an effective complement to existing menus of social protection programs. A flexible and powerful instrument, MI reduces vulnerability and mitigates the negative effects of external shocks on poor households. However, MI programs require well-developed institutional arrangements in order to run in an efficient and effective manner. Such conditions can be difficult to find in low-income countries. Social funds can help bridge this gap, standing as a platform to organize and deliver MI products. This social funds innovations note introduces some of the primary design principles behind MI program development, highlighting cases of best practice, and suggests how social funds can be used to deliver MI services more effectively to poor households. PublicationCommunity Foundations - The Relevance for Social Funds in Urban Areas : The Tanzania Social Action Fund Experience(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-02) Manjolo, Ida; Likwelile, Servacius B; Kamagenge, Amadeus M; Mesik, Juraj; Owen, DanielThis newsletter concerns the relevance for social funds in Urban Areas. Social funds face a common challenge of sustaining the community capacities that are built and investments that are supported beyond the relatively short lifespan of external funding. For long-term sustainability, external funding needs to be replaced by a steady flow of domestic revenue. The Community foundation (CF) approach offers a number of advantages for urban work. Community foundations are independent organizations that provide grants to support a variety of projects identified and implemented by local residents. A CF does not replace the scale of resources and national reach achieved by social funds. But it can provide a partial answer to the sustainability challenge in some large and medium-size urban areas, where it can mobilize local resources and sustain social dynamism and participation in broad areas of development work. PublicationSierra Leone - The Road to Recovery : Results from a Beneficiary Impact Assessment(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-06) Hackett, Julie; Sum, June-WeiThis note explores how a community-driven approach has successfully made inroads in Sierra Leone, a country racked by internal violence and without a tradition of widespread civic participation. By mobilizing village members to work together to rebuild physical infrastructure destroyed by the war, the World Bank's National Social Action Project is also rebuilding trust and collective action amongst a divided population. In particular, the project targeted areas not previously serviced by Government, 'newly accessible areas,' (those which were under rebel control until the end of the war in 2002); as well as the most vulnerable population groups within those areas. PublicationA Story of Social and Economic Empowerment : The Evolution of “Community Professionals” in Sri Lanka(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-09) Munshi, Meena; Hayward, Natasha; Verardo, BarbaraThis note explores the critical and innovative role played by 'community professionals' in the village self help learning initiative and Gemi Diriya programs in Sri Lanka. It describes the strategy used by the projects to mobilize and strengthen grassroots resource persons in support of achieving the Bank's mission of poverty reduction and livelihood improvement in rural Sri Lanka. In Gemi Diriya, community professionals are proving to be a driving force behind establishing sound village organizations, building capacity at the village level and promoting villager-villager learning. Institutionalizing the role of grassroots professionals by creating a 'community professional learning and training center' has allowed the program to scale up in a cost-effective and sustainable manner. PublicationIntegrating Social Funds into Local Development Strategies : Five Stories from Latin America(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-09) Serrano, RodrigoThe steady movement towards decentralization that Latin America has experienced in the last decade, often referred to as the "quiet revolution", has led governments and donors to rethink the role Social Funds (SFs) should play in promoting local development. While SFs had been relatively successful in building local infrastructure, insufficient integration with public sector systems (both national and local) had raised well founded concerns about institutional and investment sustainability. This Note gives a quick overview of how reforms are unfolding in five SFs in Latin America, and highlights some features of the emerging models. It shows that many SFs are working closely with local governments. For these SFs the challenge is no longer whether they undermine local governments or not but rather how they can become an effective instrument of the country's decentralization policy-i.e., how their interactions with local governments, communities, and sectoral agencies advance the decentralization policy objectives and a more balanced approach to local development. PublicationHolding the Door Open : Facilitating Access to Microcredit in the Benin Social Fund(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-03) Elder, John; Tovo, MauriziaDuring preparation of the Benin Social Fund Project, all levels of society indicated that lack of access to credit was a major problem for poor people. At the same time, there was reluctance to put in a micro-credit component, as an assessment of this type of component in social funds had yielded mixed results. The Bank was already supporting the Second Rural Credit Project, providing technical support to a national association of cooperative savings and credit societies to increase the availability of credit. Nonetheless, the Government, having identified micro-credit as a priority, was keen to have micro-credit activities. To balance the somewhat conflicting points of view, the project team decided to develop financial intermediation services for low-income groups, without providing the actual credit. To take into account the heterogeneity of institutions involved in microfinance at the time, the unequal distribution of financial services in the country (especially urban/rural), and the characteristics of different types of clients, the microfinance component was divided into three sub-components, two dealing with formal financial systems, the other with informal ones. The project has been able to fill a gap between poor households and formal credit sources. Critical for the success were the already-existing formal credit organizations that offered financial services relevant to the needs of poor groups. While expertise on microfinance is hard to find, results suggest that intermediation only works where credit is actually available, in a form usable by the target population. Notably, targets should be adjusted to focus on what is important to the beneficiaries. PublicationNicaragua Social Investment Fund : Conditional Cash Transfer, a New Avenue for Social Funds?(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-02) Vermehren, AndreaThe note presents the case of the Nicaragua Social Investment Fund (FISE), which accounts for an impressive record, having financed a significant number of projects in ten years (sixty percent of these benefiting the education sector). Moreover, it reinforced rural water, and municipal infrastructure projects, and strengthened its engagement in local capacity building at the municipal, and community levels. However, in the late 90s, it became clear there were limits to the effectiveness of supply side interventions, and both FISE, and the government began thinking about strengthening the demand side, through new ways to improve access to social services, and creating an opportunity for inclusion of the most vulnerable, particularly children living precariously in rural areas. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program is examined, a new window to finance cash transfers to extremely poor families in selected rural areas. Yet, the remarkable results of CCT questions its affordability, and sustainability. The Government is now starting to prioritize programs, and investments in the social sector to achieve greater impact. As for the question of the program's cost effectiveness, the Government is considering undertaking a comparative analysis to assess results. PublicationThe Moldovan Social Investment Fund : Building Local Capacity and Improving Services(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-01) Bezhanyan, Anush; Ionascu, AlexeiThe note reviews the impact of the Moldova Social Investment Fund (MSIF), aimed at building local capacity, and improving services, though also looks at the implementation problems connected with community participation. To address these issues the MSIF management delegated responsibilities to implementing agencies, while also improved technical assistance. The development of partnerships achieved greater impact, which led to performance contracts, as tools to promote the sustainability of investments. Lessons reinforce the need for community ownership, and, suggest wider community consultation to identify, and solve technical issues. The need to maintain links with communities after subproject implementation is emphasized, to ensure long-term sustainability. PublicationThe Role of Information, Education and Communication in the Malawi Social Action Fund(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-12) Chibwana, Bridget; Mohan, PrasadThe note looks at the strategy of the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) in linking the roles of information, education, and communication (IEC), designed through a process known as "systematic client consultations" which involved nongovernmental organizations, communities, government officials, as well as donor participants. Given the budget for IEC activities was high, a public awareness campaign was launched early on, and follow-on programs reinforced the benefits from MASAF subprojects: it involves a two-way communication, where facilitators work intensively with the communities on identifying IEC needs, and gaps. Significant impacts of this free flow of information have been better working relationships between stakeholders, and improved trust among the various key players. Among the lessons learned, the importance for an IEC campaign to precede project implementation is reinforced, so as to inform, and shape opinion on project features, provided such communication initiative is followed up with a second wave of clarification, and by regular dissemination of project experiences, emphasizing the non-political, non-partisan nature of the project, enhancing responsiveness to community demands, and, highlighting adherence to publicly-stated norms. PublicationBulgaria Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) : Innovative Approaches to Income Generation(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-10) Pojarski, PeterThe note looks at the role the Regional Initiatives Fund Project had in Bulgaria, which tested the social fund approach, as an institutional mechanisms to help the country protect incomes of the poor during the transition period. Its micro-projects component funded both, social infrastructure, and innovative micro-projects. The latter, the most innovative, explored different approaches to employment generation, aiming to create longer-term jobs, and, foster the reintegration of disadvantaged groups, back into society. Opportunities for income generation were established by enabling the development of a business environment, which would provide business services such as, training, advice, and marketing techniques. The project targeted ethnic minorities, socially marginal women, vulnerable youth, and disabled unemployed people as beneficiaries. Lessons outline the need to focus on a limited number of clearly defined, and easily monitored types of micro-projects for a successful outcome, and include as well, the need for community participation in the selection, and implementation process, embedded in the project cycle. Furthermore, project proposals should undergo a sustainability analysis, and specific measures to ensure satisfactory project results.