In Washington: Kristina Stefanova, (202) 473 - 0792
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2007 — Twenty two projects won grants today from a $4 million award pool co-funded by the World Bank’s Development Marketplace (DM) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Educating deaf youth about sex and HIV in Vietnam, creating a network of secondary health science schools in Southern Sudan and deploying novel mosquito traps to suppress dengue fever transmission in Brazil are among the winning ideas. Using DM funds, they will now have up to two years to carry out their projects and bring concrete benefits to local communities.
South Asia was the most represented region among winners, with seven of 22 projects. Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean followed with six winners each. The largest number of winners from a single country was India, with four projects, followed by Kenya, Malawi, Costa Rica, Haiti, Philippines and Bangladesh with two each.
Titled 'Improving Results in Health, Nutrition and Population for the Poor', this year’s competition drew a record high of more than 2,900 applicants. Through a vigorous assessment process by health and development experts from inside and outside of the World Bank, the applicants were narrowed down to 104 finalists, who showcased their ideas at Bank headquarters May 22-23.
“We believe fundamentally that this is one of the breeding ground for some of the best and brightest ideas in development today,” said Joe Cerrell, director for Global Health Advocacy at the Gates Foundation, who served as juror for the competition. “This is an area where the foundation can really make a good investment in spawning some of the innovative concepts and initiatives that you can’t find in any other place.”
The DM is a competitive grant program that identifies and supports emerging development ideas. It has awarded some $40 million to more than 1,000 projects through global and country-level competitions since 1998.
Most of this year’s winning projects are carried out by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as the New Sudan Initiative, which will create five health science secondary schools in Southern Sudan in an effort to jump-start a nearly collapsed health sector.
“Peace only came to southern Sudan in 2005,” said project leader Abraham Awolich. “There are basically zero health posts in some of the communities. For us to build the health care infrastructure, we have to begin with human resources.”
Among the winners are a number of private businesses - alone or in partnership with local government or NGO. But most winners feature partnerships between an NGO and local government (such as a Zambia project treating acute malnutrition through outpatient care), or an NGO and academia (such as in Haiti, where the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Haitian NGO will create micro-enterprises specializing in the production and sale of affordable, clean-burning cooking charcoal made from agricultural waste).
“I believe the World Bank should be interacting with non-state actors more, especially in health,” said Cristian Baeza, acting director for the Bank’s Health, Nutrition and Population unit, who served as a juror during the competition. “Seventy percent of basic health service in India is provided by non-state actors … we need more in-depth engagement between state and non-state actors.”
Baeza added that the World Bank’s newly adopted health strategy envisages more active involvement with NGOs. He cited the DM as a good venue for the Bank to interact with civil society and grassroots organizations.
To view the complete list of the winners, please go to www.developmentmarketplace.org
To see video interviews with contestants go to the Bank's news and broadcast page.