On November 30, the CDD Global Solutions Group hosted a BBL featuring Benjamin Burckhart, a senior social development specialist at the World Bank based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He and his colleagues Nicolas Perrin and Abel Bove shared their experience leading the Community Development Program Support Project (PDNP, in French), which began in 2004.
The project’s objective is to strengthen local public finance management and participatory development processes in communes (districts) to deliver sustainable social and economic infrastructure as part of the government’s decentralization efforts. In the project, communes receive small amounts of funding, and local leaders identify community needs through a participatory planning process. The project utilizes a range of feedback mechanisms, including scorecards and hotlines; it also includes performance-based grants to highly rated villages.
Highlights from the discussion included:
PDNP was launched in 2004 in just 151 communes. Today, the project has expanded to all 360 communes in the country, supporting almost 4,000 microprojects. It focuses on regions affected by the presence of refugees, and will work in collaboration with the IDA FY18 funding window targeting refugee assistance.
Benjamin and his colleagues have worked to mainstream and institutionalize citizen engagement in the project. They noted that citizen engagement (CE) and CDD elements are often simultaneously present in project implementation, but are sometimes treated separately.
In terms of sustainability, they discussed the possibility of PNDP transitioning to a state agency. Within this government structure, it can house the database of the locally collected feedback information, and make it publicly available. In this way, it can foster inclusivity and accountability within the larger decentralization processes.
We thank Ben, Nicolas, and Abel again for the opportunity to discuss their citizen engagement approaches in this context.