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Targeting - Image - Men fishing with nets

Since social fund and CDD programs usually have multiple objectives, the use of several targeting methods is necessary to optimize targeting results and avoid the limitations of any one method. Program objectives should determine the design of poverty targeting mechanisms.  Three of the most significant methods for determining design are:     

1. Geographic targeting
2. The menu and eligibility criteria
3. The inclusiveness of the participatory process

Geographic targeting is vital for programs that seek to address infrastructure gaps in underserved areas or to promote decentralization and increased local government capacity.  Key to this method is the use of geographical maps that correspond to local districts or municipalities. Maps are also important for allocating resources in an equitable fashion in post-conflict settings.

The menu and eligibility criteria method becomes essential if the ultimate objective of a program is oriented more to the household level.  In such cases, it is more useful to utilize a pro-poor menu of investments and eligibility criteria.  If the objective is to create temporary employment for the poor, the most significant issue for targeting performance will be the wage rate.

The method emphasizing inclusiveness of the participatory process is most useful if the goal of the project is to reach specific vulnerable groups.  Identifying these groups and recognizing their priorities is the fundamental focus of this method.  Likewise, if the project goal is empowering the poor, this method is crucial. 

Targeting in the context of decentralization

The amount of support that social funds can supply to communities will vary according to the institutional framework in place, i.e. whether the funds go to the communities directly, are held at the district level, or whether they are channeled centrally or through the Social Fund Executive Agency.

Effective targeting is linked to the process of decentralization and accountability.  If the district-level official’s accountability is weak, funds channeled through the district are likely to be ineffective in reaching the neediest communities.  Conversely, if the district-level accountability is sound, channeling funds through the districts to target the neediest may prove to be the most efficient and effective mechanism for delivery.

Related Reading 

Reaching the Poor and Vulnerable: Targeting Strategies for Social Funds and other Community-Driven Programs (1.7mb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0711; Publication Date: 05/07
by Julie Van Domelen

Targeting of Transfers in Developing Countries: Review of Lessons and Experience
World Bank, 2004
by David Coady, Margaret Grosh and John Hoddinott

 Evaluating Social Fund Performance: A Cross-Country Analysis of Community Investments
World Bank, 2003
by Laura Rawlings, Lynne Sherburne-Benz and Julie Van Domelen
This research utilizes innovative evaluation techniques to fill gaps in global knowledge about the performance of social funds addressing issues of targeting, impact, sustainability, and efficiency.

Country Cases

The Macedonia Community Development Project: Empowerment through Targeting and Institution Building (317kb pdf)
Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0710; Publication Date: 05/07
by Caroline Mascarell

Microproject Typology and Appraisal Criteria- Moldova Social Investment Fund
Excerpt from Annex 7, Project Appraisal Document

Do School Facilities Matter? The Case of the Peruvian Social Fund (FONCODES)
Norbert Schady, and Christina Paxson
This paper analyzes the targeting and impact of FONCODES investments in the education sector using various descriptive and econometric techniques

The following Project Appraisal Documents contain examples of targeting in Social Fund projects:

Related Websites

World Bank Social Safety Nets - Targeting
Features key readings and other resources related to targeting.

World Bank Small Area Estimation Poverty Maps
Presents a successfully piloted new methodology to estimate welfare indicators for small areas

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