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CDD: A Worldwide Community

Created Jun 26 2018, 10:51 AM by Evan Samuel Caplan

CDD Community Blog

Learning, sharing, connecting: this is what a community should be. 


At the recent Asia-Pacific Conference by the Community-Driven Development (CDD) CoP, 65 participants from 15 countries gathered in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They were part of a peer group that began in 2013, and attendees represented World Bank staff and partner governments and agencies.


“The wealth of experience and knowledge shared by CDD practitioners and other participants to find solutions and help communities,” was a highlight, said one government participant. Another explained that “it is always great to be able to meet and learn from so many different projects and countries.” 


But a community is certainly much more than a conference, as successful as that event might be.


Here at the Bank, we bring people together through communities of practice, or CoPs.  According to the World Bank, CoPs are “a gathring of individuals motivated by the desire to cross organizational boundaries, and to build a body of actionable knowledge through coordination and collaboration.”


Building a successful community, however, can be a challenge. Members of CoPs don’t necessarily work together in the same room, building, country, or organization. People must feel value in membership, and must know that others do as well. Members must know that their voice is heard when contributing. The CDD CoP is an explicitly designed domain for those who implement or are interested in the CDD approach to development – which ensures that community groups have control over planning decisions and investment resources (and not necessarily just by the World Bank).


To that end, CDD supports task teams and client governments in meeting diverse demands. The secretariat provides a number of services to its members, including one of the most appreciated backstopping activities: a just-in-time helpdesk that responded to 4-5 requests per week in FY18. It also offers online and offline support tools and resources, including an external C4D site; and a significant amount of learning events, from BBLs to seminars to the Asia-Pacific conference to an annual CDD Core Course, which aims to foster the next generation of TTLs inside the World Bank.


The CDD community works to create value, both for its members and for the World Bank as an organization. What’s most critical, though is that the CoP is demand-driven, focused on the needs of the community and its members – an entirely bottom-up approach to creating community.


For example, Surat Nsour, Senior Social Protection Specialist, used the services of the CDD GSG in preparing the Iraq Social Fund project. She said that “the CDD GSG was instrumental in supporting us advance our work in Iraq. Having the ability to brainstorm with members of the GSG and draw on the resources of the CDD site helped us to quickly and significantly improve the project’s technical design. The just-in-time support from the CDD GSG helped us learn from international good practices and similar context countries.”


The recent conference in Colombo reflects these points. It took into account feedback from a previous conference, focusing on a specific subject area – local economic development – that has become important to practitioners. The conference, in the end, was one part of a continuing, dynamic conversation among CDD members.  


Not only does CDD give communities a say in the use of development funds, it also has created a strong community itself.


Because a community is lost without active participation from its members, I invite you to visit the C4D homepage, or contact the team with comments. I also suggest visiting the WBG Community Managers page, a collaboration network to build more engage communities.