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«Social Funds and Reaching Proceedings from an international workshop organized by the Poor The World Bank and Experiences and AFRICATIP La Red Social de ...»

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• To develop an information, outreach, and communication strategy, social funds need to analyze stakeholders to identify the main actors, their interests and attitudes, and how they can be reached. The findings of the client consultations can be used to develop appropriate messages.

• The information, education, and communication strategy design should highlight the features of social funds of interest to each target group to ensure a long-term relationship between the communities and the program. The information flow has to be two-way and will evolve over time.

• Institutional responsibility for communication strategy is determined by the nature of the information to be disseminated and may require partnerships with other public or private sector agencies.

• An information, education, and communication strategy must have adequate resources to achieve its objectives, which are germane to the overall purpose of social funds.

Follow-Up Work from the Perspective of Main Constituencies Social Funds’ Directors

• Social funds should introduce productive projects that address structural poverty and transfer their management culture, innovations, and lessons learned to national, state, and local agencies.

• The creation of new regional networks of social funds in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and in the Middle East and North Africa is encouraged.

• La Red Social and AFRICATIP will strengthen their ties and collaborate to assist emerging networks and to build an international network based on regional groupings.

• International donor agencies will support the creation and the integration of social funds networks worldwide, and the World Bank will manage the global World Wide Web page on social funds.

NGO Representatives

• NGOs should establish more permanent relationships with social funds and become involved in their management structures, as well as in the identification, design, and evaluation of projects.

• Social funds should focus on building the social capital of communities they work with and the capacity of NGOs, community-based organizations, and municipalities.

Main Outcomes and Recommendations 11

• NGOs should establish an international network to exchange information on their experiences with social funds and further explore areas such as local economic development and gender issues. This network should interact systematically with La Red Social and with AFRICATIP.

• NGOs should develop and maintain high standards of professionalism and ethics in their administrative practices and their interactions with social funds.

Local Government Representatives

• Where decentralization will allow it, social funds should foster the creation of municipal funds for local economic development and transfer to them their current responsibilities and capacities.

International Development Agencies

• Employment promotion and income generation at the local level should be among the initiatives that are financed by social funds. Gender issues should be addressed more forcefully in the design and implementation of these initiatives to overcome current barriers.

• Donor coordination is required in every country where a social fund is operating, especially for reporting and evaluation, as well as to maintain flexibility in components financing.

• International coordination should be established among all agencies that support social funds via: regular exchanges of information and meetings; the development and maintenance of the global World Wide Web page; the joint preparation of handbooks, studies, and evaluations.

• The impact of social funds on national institutional development and public sector management reform should be studied internationally.

Future Challenges for Social Funds in Their Regional Contexts Eastern Europe and Central Asia The nature of the transition economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia defines the key

regional roles of social funds:

• They can actively foster privatization by introducing competitive procurement, provide training to small-scale operators, and rehabilitate infrastructure to be privatized.

• Especially in the area of health and education infrastructure, social funds can help achieve the balance between community participation and social sector reform strategies.

• Social funds can introduce managerial capacity, help give legitimacy to local governments in the provision of services, and introduce municipal cost recovery.

• Social funds can help create and build capacity of community associations and facilitate their links with local governments and line agencies.

Latin America and the Caribbean In view of the completed transition from structural adjustment to economic growth in most of

the countries of the region, social funds are now expected to carry out the following functions:

• Facilitate the transition to peace and social reconciliation in Central America

• Combat the current economic crisis and emergency situations in the Caribbean 12 Overview

• Contribute to structural poverty reduction in South America, where their integration with macroeconomic policies and other poverty reduction programs is essential.

La Red Social will continue to play a key role in facilitating the exchanges among social funds; its electronic InterRedSocial network will further facilitate the interaction among its members and its global connections.

Middle East and North Africa Social funds in the Middle East and North Africa can contribute to the social stability of those countries embarking on a process of economic and political modernization; other countries in the region still face violent internal conflicts and require emergency social funds interventions.

Social funds were introduced to the Middle East and North Africa quite recently, but national governments seem eager to adopt and replicate this approach.

Sub-Saharan Africa Africa is still undergoing a process of economic stabilization, and many countries are facing specific issues of post-conflict reconstruction that call for emergency social funds interventions. The region already has the largest concentration of social funds, with the AGETIP agencies of West Africa regrouped within AFRICATIP. The social funds of Eastern and Southern Africa will develop their own network to be called Social Funds NET. While AGETIPs have a strong track record with delegated contract management of small-scale infrastructure and public works, the African social funds have concentrated in human resources development (health and education). Once Social Funds NET is operational, the two networks are expected to establish a close relationship.

Partnerships and Participation in the Workshop Initial Identification of the Global Learning Event The innovative nature of social funds, their contributions to poverty reduction, their widespread recognition as well as controversy surrounding them in developing countries and within the development community, all called for a global exchange of experiences and lessons learned.

The Economic Development Institute (EDI) of the World Bank, after facilitating some regional exchanges among social funds’ managers in Latin America and Africa, identified the need for a global learning event in 1995 and initiated the preparation of the workshop in early 1996.

At the same time, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that have a permanent consultative forum with the World Bank (WB), the WB-NGO Committee, identified social funds as the most significant Bank-supported portfolio of programs that effectively include civil society organizations in their design, management, and implementation. In the spring of 1996, the committee requested the Bank’s management to organize an international learning event on social funds. The separate initiatives on social funds of the EDI and of the WB-NGO Committee were thus combined successfully into one, with Bank management’s support, and EDI’s preparations for the workshop integrated the WB-NGO Committee’s objectives.

A strong demand for the opportunity to share experiences and views with stakeholder constituencies was strongly supported by the staff of the World Bank in charge of the design and supervision of the credits and loans that finance the implementation of social funds. The institutional interest in the subject was confirmed by two recent studies of social funds: the World Bank’s Review of the Social Funds Portfolio, which was a desk review, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Social Investment Funds in Latin America: Past Performance and Future Role, based on field work carried out in eight countries and on the review of evaluations of all funds in the region.

Establishment of Partnership Agreements and Management of the Process The first step in designing the international workshop was to identify key stakeholder groups for inclusion in the design process: social funds, NGOs, and community-based organizations, central governments and municipalities were all considered as such; in addition, multilateral and bilateral development agencies that make substantial technical and financial contributions to social funds were considered essential stakeholders.

To ensure stakeholder ownership, the objectives and design of the international workshop were developed and finalized over nearly one year of consultative process with the representatives of these constituencies. An initial outline of the meeting was presented for review within the World Bank in June 1996. A more detailed concept document incorporating comments from the initial review was broadly circulated to all stakeholder representatives in November 1996.

By early 1997, a partnership for the joint implementation of the international workshop had been established among the World Bank, the WB-NGO Committee, La Red Social de América Latina y el Caribe, and AFRICATIP, the latter two being the regional networks of social funds.

14 Overview

The partnership was formalized by the creation of a steering committee that was entrusted with the design, objectives, and content of the event.

The steering committee provided guidance and specific recommendations on the design of the international workshop, and its members took an active role in the plenary sessions of the workshop. The steering committee completed its mandate with the revision and approval of the present publication of the workshop proceedings.

Within the World Bank, the international workshop was the result of intense collaboration between the EDI, the Poverty and Social Policy Department, the NGO Unit, the Learning and Leadership Center, and the Quality Assurance Group. All of these departments appointed managers to the steering committee and provided staff for the working group in charge of preparing the event. Institutional and financial support for the initiative during the final stages of its preparation was provided by the Social Protection Group of the Human Development Network and the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network.

A panel of advisors, consisting of representatives of all the World Bank departments that support social funds in the regional and the central vice presidencies, provided guidance on the selection of relevant themes, on the appointment of the ten session leaders who were commissioned to prepare thematic papers, and on the nomination of participants to be invited to the workshop.

The Role of the Supporting Agencies Shared ownership of the event was demonstrated clearly by the willingness of all social funds to finance the costs of air travel and subsistence for their representatives; the same was true of all international development agencies and all observers. On the other hand, the costs of air travel and subsistence of NGO representatives and of representatives of central governments and municipalities were subsidized to facilitate their participation.

The Economic Development Institute of the World Bank received generous financial support for these subsidies from the African Development Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency, the International Labour Office, and the Organization of American States.

These agencies also contributed substantially to the implementation of the workshop by providing chairpersons and session leaders for the plenary and parallel sessions. This participation reinforced the ties between the international development agencies and holds the promise for further collaboration among them.

Participants The 250 workshop participants included: (a) general managers and high-level staff of social funds; (b) representatives of central government institutions that oversee the operations of the funds; (c) representatives of municipal governments that interact with social funds in the selection and implementation of subprojects and of their regional associations; (d) representatives of nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations that work with social funds; (e) staff of the World Bank and of other multilateral and bilateral development agencies that finance, design, and supervise the implementation of social funds; and (f) observers including researchers, academicians, and consultants involved with social funds and representatives of national governments that are establishing new social funds operations.

Plenary and Parallel Thematic Sessions Half of the workshop was devoted to plenary sessions. The plenary on May 27 included the perspectives of various constituencies, the World Bank’s findings from its review of social funds, and the findings of the Inter-American Development Bank’s study of social funds. The plenary Partnerships and Participation in the Workshop 15 on May 28 presented the outcomes of the ten parallel working group sessions on specific issues, as well as related plenary debates. On May 29, the plenary presented the outcomes of constituency consultations, a keynote speech on Development, Equity, and Social Justice by the Minister of Family Welfare of Senegal, and the conclusions reached at the workshop.

The parallel thematic sessions on May 27 and on May 28 presented the unique opportunity for participants to focus and interact on a set of specific issues identified as priorities for social funds. Initiated by session leaders, who drew upon their experiences managing social funds, the sessions addressed the key issues with the assistance of professional facilitators from the Learning and Leadership Center. The presence of resource persons drawn from the World Bank staff active in project design and supervision contributed to the quality of the discussions. Simultaneous interpretation in English, French, Spanish, and Russian was available in all the meeting rooms, and the sessions were recorded to facilitate the subsequent preparation of these proceedings.

Constituencies’ and Regional Consultations The consultations of May 29 enabled the different constituencies—social funds’ directors, NGO representatives, municipal representatives, and international development agencies officials— to discuss the initial outcomes of the workshop, to elaborate upon common strategies for the promotion and improvement of social funds, and to arrive at recommendations that were then presented at the final plenary session.

The regional consultations of May 30 enabled the participants from the Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa regions to meet separately and to focus on the follow-up to the workshop in each region. Organized by AFRICATIP, La Red Social de America Latina y el Caribe, and by the staff of the World Bank, of the Inter-American Development Bank, and of the Organization of American States, these oneday events facilitated the articulation of operational decisions for the future of social funds in their regional contexts.

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