Social Funds Innovation Notes
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Social Funds Innovation Notes are published informally by the Social Funds Thematic Group of the Human Development Network – Social Protection. These replaced the earlier series called Social Funds Innovation Updates.
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Sierra 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.
Holding 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.
The 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.