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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.