|1. Project Data:
ICR Review Date Posted:
|Social Investment Program Project
Project Costs(US $M)
| US$M 22.54
|| US$M 60.3|
|C3740, C4450, CH349
Loan/Credit (US $M)
| US$M 18.24
|Agriculture and Rural Development
Cofinancing (US $M)
Board Approval Date
|Other social services (50%), General transportation sector (40%), General education sector (5%), Media (5%)|
|Other rural development (29% - P)
Rural services and infrastructure (29% - P)
Rural policies and institutions (14% - S)
Gender (14% - S)
analysis and monitoring (14% - S)|
||ICR Review Coordinator:
|John R. Eriksson
|2. Project Objectives and Components:|
a. Objectives:The Project Appraisal Document (PAD) states the Project Development Objective as: "to develop effective and efficient financing and institutional arrangements for improving access to local infrastructure and basic services through the implementation of community-driven small-scale infrastructure works and social assistance programs"
(p.2 and Annex 1, p.28). The Project Credit Agreement provides an identical definition (p.13, Schedule 2).
These formulations of the objective mix means and ends. "... implementation of community-driven small-scale infrastructure works and social assistance programs" are means chosen by the project to achieve the objective. This review will adopt the first clause of these formulations as the Project Development Objective. Namely, to:
"...develop effective and efficient financing and institutional arrangements for improving access to local infrastructure and basic services."
b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
c. Components:There were four components throughout the project from design to closure. The component costs at appraisal are shown in the PAD (p.6). Three Additional Financing Credits are included by component in the figures shown below. A fifth component was added to the second Additional Financing Credit, as explained in (e) and in 2-d. Notwithstanding these additions and some substantive changes, the project objective remained the same.
(a) Strengthening the Social Development Foundation (appraisal: US$1.91 million; actual: US$ 7.63 million) This entity was established according to the PAD (p.4) as a not-for-profit company and is referred to by the ICR as "autonomous under the Ministry of Finance" (p.5). This project component was comprised of four sub-components: (i) information and communication; (ii) capacity building; (iii) monitoring and learning; and (iv) project management support (including environmental assessment and tribal development). Technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation studies, establishment and incremental staff expenses, and operating costs were to be financed.
(b) Institutional Development at the Community-level (appraisal: US$0.38 million; actual: US$5.00 million) This component was to support communities in raising awareness, motivating and engaging the rural poor to participate in community-driven initiatives, changing attitudes and behaviors among local stakeholders, development of organizations at the village-level, and preparation of Community Action Plans. The component had two sub-components: (i) information and communication campaign; (ii) formation and strengthening of Village Development Committees, Community Groups and Action Plans. The component was to also finance local information dissemination and environmental assessment and screening.
(c) Implementation of Community Action Plans (appraisal: US$19.35 million; actual: US$32.26 million) The Plans were to prioritize community needs for small-scale infrastructure and social assistance based on informed choice and eligibility criteria. The project was to finance: (i) up to 85 percent of expenditures of community infrastructure sub-projects; (ii) costs of NGO services to implement social assistance programs, including one-time seed capital and cost of legal assistance for the very poorest and vulnerable groups, and implementation of the tribal development plan; and (iii) costs of services for appraisal and supervision of sub-projects, including environmental supervision.
(d) Pilot Private Financing in Community Utilities (appraisal: US$0.90 million; actual: US$0.40 million) The project was to finance technical assistance and a maximum of 70 percent of approved costs of water and electricity sub-projects. These resources were channeled to leverage private financing of piped water supply to communities through matching grants. The technical assistance was to help the Social Development Foundation identify, develop, appraise, and supervise pilot sub-projects in piped water supply and off-grid electricity.
(e) Livelihood Restoration through Micro-Credit to Flood-Affected Communities (actual: US$15 million) This assistance was implemented from resources provided by Additional Financing Credit II in December 2007 through the Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, an independent NGO, to provide micro-credit to flood-affected communities. It is shown as a stand-alone component by the ICR, separate from the four original components (p.27). Since this component was entirely financed by an Additional Financing Credit, there are no costs to show at appraisal.
d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and DatesProject Cost
The total project cost estimated at appraisal was US$22.54 million. This was followed by three Additional Financing Credits in 2007-2008, which brought the total actual cost to US$60.29 million.
Original Credit and Additional Financing Credit I (combined):US$27.98 million
- The original cost was to be financed by an IDA Credit of US$18.24 million and government and local contributions of US$4.30 million.
- In April 2007 an Additional Financing Credit I (called a "Consolidation Credit”) of US$8.00 million was provided to augment Component 3 ("Community Action Plans") to support income generating activities. The Project Objective and the four Components otherwise remained the same.
- In December 2007 an Additional Financing Credit II ("Flood Credit") of US$25.00 million was provided for livelihood restoration after two waves of floods in Bangladesh in 2007. The program was divided into two parts: (1) US$10 million was implemented through the Social Development Foundation to provide emergency assistance and restore livelihoods in flood-affected communities; and (2) US$15 million was implemented through the Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation to provide micro-credit to affected communities (as noted above in 2c(e).
- In July 2008 an Additional Financing Credit III ("Cyclone Credit") of US$50 million was provided to support restoration and recovery from cyclone damage to livelihoods and long-term disaster preparedness. This support was provided through the original four project components.
- On April 19, 2011, US$40 million was cancelled from Additional Financing Credit III. The reasons include.(i) over-estimation of Social Development Foundation capacity to expand its operations; (ii) interventions were in a logistically difficult geographic area; (iii) occurrence of a second cyclone, which resulted in uncoordinated relief operations that disrupted longer-term development operations; and (iv) utilization of an NGO as implementing agency that had little operational experience, delaying implementation by 10-12 months.
- The above figures are amounts made available by agreement but they are not disbursement amounts. The ICR provides the following information on actual disbursements by Credit (pp.4. 45):
Additional Financing Credit II: US$22.94 million
Additional Financing Credit III: US$ 9.38 million
Total: US$60.30 million
This total corresponds (with a small rounding error) to the sum of actual cost by component, or US$60.29 million.
The borrower, including Government and local communities, was to contribute the equivalent of US$4.30 million (PAD, pp. 1,89) at the time of appraisal or 19.1% of the estimated total project cost of $US22.54 million. If only the proposed Government contribution of US$1.61 million is counted, its share of estimated total project cost was 7.1%. Actual disbursements at project closure were US$60.30 million of which US$3.18 million constituted reported Government contributions or 5.3% of total costs. It is assumed that the latter figure includes local community contributions, since neither the ICR nor the project team made the distinction. It is also assumed that this figure represents actual contributions since it is shown in an ICR table (p.4) of “Actual Disbursement,” albeit under a “Project Budget (PAD)” column. Net of the “Government” contribution of US$3.18 million, the implied total cost contributed by IDA would be US$57.12 million or 94.7% of total project costs. The implied increase in the IDA share of total cost from appraisal to actual reflects the substantial IDA infusions for the Additional Financing Credits, especially for flood and cyclone rehabilitation.
The closing date of 06/30/2007 was extended to 06/30/2011, thereby roughly doubling the project implementation period. Three reasons are given: (i) some project activities --confidence building, institution development, building long term capacities, and pace of community decision-making-- required more time than anticipated at appraisal; (ii) disruptions caused by floods and cyclones; and (iii) lack of implementing agency management capacity during some key periods. (ICR, p.9)
|3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:|
a. Relevance of Objectives:The relevance of the Project Development Objective is Substantial. The first part of the Objective -to develop effective and efficient financing and institutional arrangements- was still relevant at project closure for those areas of the country where such arrangements had not yet been implemented. The second part of the Objective - to improve access to infrastructure and basic services- also remained relevant in much of the country. In addition, the ICR cites a focus on "strengthening community-driven institutions of the poor" for Additional Financing I (AF I), financial support for flood rehabilitation for AF II, and cyclone assistance for AF III (p.1). But these were not formal objectives. The Project Development Objective, as well as these foci, are relevant to sustained development of the country. All are consistent with the aim of the Government‘s 6th Five Year Plan to bring Bangladesh to middle income country status through massive poverty reduction efforts. The objectives of this project were also consistent with the overall objective of the Bank's Country Assistance Strategy for Bangladesh (FY 2011-2014), namely, to contribute to "accelerated, sustainable and inclusive growth, underpinned by stronger governance at central and local levels" (p.i). (The ICR refers to the reviewed project as "Social Investment Program Project I" because a second project, "SIPP II," was anticipated that would scale-up the reviewed project.)
At one juncture, the ICR labels "improved livelihoods" and "improved resilience to natural disasters" as "new objectives" for AF I and AF II-III, respectively (p.12). But nowhere else in the ICR or in the Additional Financing Agreements is there any indication of a modification of the original Project Development Objective nor any approval by the Board of modified objectives. In fact, the AF II Agreement makes it clear that while the AF's purpose was to "help in meeting the Recipient’s increased funding requirement caused by the impact of floods," this was to be within the original objectives of the Project (see Financing Agreement, Grant-H349-BD; February 7, 2008; Preface, paragraph 3.01, Schedule 1).
b. Relevance of Design:The relevance of the design of the project is Modest. While the original four components plus the fifth additional component were relevant to developing financing and institutional arrangements for improving access, they were not very relevant to the effective and efficient provision of such arrangements, as explicitly embodied in the project objective. Only after the Midterm Review in May 2006 were a number of steps identified to bring about more effective and efficient arrangements (outlined in a Community Operational Manual), including measures to increase community participation, mobilize saving and credit, formalize financial systems, build capacity, etc. The original project design called for the Social Development Foundation to be an umbrella organization overseeing support to communities through NGOs. The Midterm Review modified this approach, with the Foundation rather than NGOs conducting field-level implementation by:
- Giving priority to strengthening community institutions and developing their capacities in contrast to NGOs, which often delivered goods, training and services, but paid less attention to developing capacities of community members, instead giving more attention to recovering their cost to sustain their own institutions.
- Empowering communities to design, implement, monitor and maintain infrastructure and other activities, instead of their previous role as passive beneficiaries of interventions designed by NGOs.
|4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :|
The objective of the project was to develop effective and efficient financing and institutional arrangements for improving access to local infrastructure and basic services. The efficacy of achieving this objective is rated as Modest. The main reason is the lack of evidence to demonstrate the extent to which the project developed effective and efficient financing and institutional arrangements. Available evidence indicates poor performance against targets before the Midterm Review and during subsequent project restructuring. The ICR reports several actions under the heading of fiduciary compliance that indicate progress toward effective and efficient financing and institutional arrangements (see below and section 11-b). However, a number of the output level and more of the outcome level achievements lacked both a target and a baseline. The 39 achievements listed in Section 4 show that at the Output level, 7 targets were met or exceeded and only 3 were below target. But at the Outcome/Intermediate Outcome levels, only one achievement met the target and 8 did not. Moreover, there were 10 reported achievements at the Output level and 10 at the Outcome/Intermediate Outcome level for which no targets had been set or baselines established, These results do not provide sufficient basis for upgrading Efficacy to Substantial. Moreover, there was limited information to provide a basis for assessing attribution to the Project (the only reference to attribution is in the discussion of the end-of-project survey on the benefits of road construction, ICR, p.14 – see below under Outcomes).
Outputs (listed roughly in order of percent of target achieved)
- 95% of women benefited from the project (ICR, p.13) (target of 50% against a baseline of zero, but the Results Framework Analysis shows a target of 90%, which the team says is erroneous. While “benefited” is not defined, it presumably means number of women who were beneficiaries of the sub-projects).
- 1224 Gram Samities (higher level village institutions) covering at least 87% of target households accessed village development funds in adherence with guidelines (target of 1125 with achieved number representing 109% of target, against a baseline of zero; the figure of 1224 includes data from the 3 Additional Financing Credits in contrast to the target of 760 villages in the Results Framework Analysis, which according to the Project Team reflects only the original project before the Additional Financing Credits).
- 1238 villages (about 70% of all 1768 project villages) had Gram Parishad (basic village level organization) quarterly meetings (ICR, p. 13) (target of 1125 villages or 110% of target). (The Results Framework Analysis reports an achievement of 353 villages, which according to the team represents only those villages with quarterly meetings under the third Additional Financing “Cyclone” Credit).
- 1734 community-driven small-scale infrastructure works were built, including 1376 works under the original project and 358 under the flood and cyclone Additional Financing Credits (PAD target of 1800 works against a baseline of zero but no Additional Financing targets). Four categories were completed: about 2,490 km of earthen roads, 2,940 drinking water tube wells, 3,160 culverts, and 85 schools repaired. No baselines or targets were provided for these subcategories.
- 100% of villages had established an operation and maintenance plan and 77% had mobilized funds for this purpose (target of 80% against a baseline of zero).
The ICR provides no targets or baselines for the following reported output level achievements:
- The ICR (pp.42-44) reports several quantitative achievements and targets at the output level for the third Additional Financing Credit as shown below:
- 353 villages had 70% of target households mobilized into livelihood groups and started savings (target of 350 villages or 101%)
- 250 village organizations set-up early warning systems and trained in providing help to community members during emergencies (target of 400 villages or 63% of target)
- 353 Gram Samities had at least 50% of decision making positions occupied by women ( target of 476 or 74% of target)
- 353 villages had regular quarterly Gram Parishad meetings attended by at least 70% of target members (50% women) (target of 400 villages or 88% of target)
- 55,000 households accessed employment generation schemes (target of 55,000 households or 100% but 55,000 equals 60% of targeted households)
- Project funds were transferred from the Social Development Foundation directly to accounts of communities, which were given responsibility for their management.
- Financial accountability issues at the community level were addressed mostly by an independent center and identified corruption cases were minimal (2% of villages and 0.02% of people.
- Independent community-level social committees reviewed procurement, funds management and related decision making although procurement training lagged.
- 129,960 hard core poor and poor households, most of which were normally not deemed creditworthy to access traditional microfinance, accessed livelihood funds loans (p.13)
- Access to education was also improved as a result of the rehabilitation of 85 schools and of road and culvert construction, which enabled increased school attendance of 58 percent from school rehabilitation and an increase in school attendance of 41 percent from road and culvert construction.
- Under the Social Assistance Program, a dedicated pilot health program supported by the project, 65,000 rural poor in 22 villages were reached, which according to the ICR (pp.14-15) led to increased awareness of health issues, increased capacity building, and access to local level health care services. However, no evidence is provided for these assertions.
- A focus on livelihood improvement introduced after the Midterm Review resulted in 258,113 people engaged in income-generating activities who saved a total of US$1.23 million (92 million Bangladesh taka). (ICR, p.15)
- The second and third Additional Financing Credits are reported to have strengthened community capacity to cope with future disasters. Communities were introduced to disaster vulnerability analysis, training in disaster management and plans, and basic equipment was provided, e.g. hand microphones, first aid kits, radios, etc. But community members (with NGO help) rehabilitated their dwellings and recovered from agricultural losses to floods and cyclones. Consultations during ICR preparation suggested that assistance from the Project might not have been sufficient to improve preparedness and resilience of communities to floods and cyclones.
- A community financing model, envisioned by the PAD, was inaugurated on a trial basis for the first time in Bangladesh and then confirmed by the Mid-Term Project Review (MTR) as a key element of the project.
- Other relevant institutional changes included (drawn in part from comments by the Country Team):
- participatory targeting methodologies to enable the poor and hard core poor to form their own inclusive and accountable village level organizations in accordance with detailed guidelines (Community Operational Manual)
- a results based financing mechanism was set up to help institutions of the poor to directly access a village-based envelope for participatory prioritization of needs and budgeting
- milestone based release of funds through a participatory appraisal and transparent decision making process for utilization of funds, social auditing etc.
Outcomes/Intermediate Outcomes Listed roughly in order of percent of target achieved. The percentages of target achievement are significantly less than at the output level.
- 2.5 million hard core poor and poor “benefited” from the Project (target of 3 million with achievement representing 83% of target, against a baseline of zero) [Figures from “PDO Indicator 1,” Results Framework Analysis, where “benefited” is not defined.]
- 736 Gram Samities (77%) mobilized operations and maintenance resources to cover their costs (target of 760 (80%) against a baseline of zero).
- 421,709 employment days were generated for flood affected communities in target villages through provision of community infrastructure works (target of 600,000 or 70% against baseline of zero).
- Communities saved a total of 92 million taka (target of 141 million taka or 65% against a baseline of zero). This shortfall was reportedly due to slower than planned implementation and less than expected follow-up by the Social Development Foundation. (ICR, p.13)
- The following are reported results at the outcome level for the third Additional Financing Credit that focused on cyclone rehabilitation and preparedness (ICR, pp. 42-44):
- 388 infrastructure sub-projects funded and 92 completed (target of 400 villages, or 97%, with at least one sub-project completed per village)
- 1,840 most vulnerable persons received assistance (one time grant) and accessed the livelihood assistance fund – 604 employed or self-employed (target of 2.250 persons or 82%)
- 1,514 affected unemployed youth accessed loans/funds from skill development training and started income generating activities (target of 4,500 youth or 44 % of target)
- 7.243 households benefited from project intervention (infrastructure, skill development, savings and credit) and have started income generating activities (target of 30,000 households or 24%)
- 78,154 employment days generated for the Cyclone affected communities through activities (target of 400,000 days or 20% of target)
The ICR provides no targets or baselines for the following reported outcome level achievements:
- An end-of-project survey estimated that beneficiaries of road construction experienced an increase in trade and commerce of 48% of respondents and of agricultural marketing, 39%. These percentages are 35% and 33%, respectively, for beneficiaries of culvert construction. Since non-project Government infrastructure works address inter-village infrastructure not covered by the Project, the ICR argues that these benefits can be largely attributed to the Project (p.14). However, there are other factors, such as weather and volume of crop production that could influence these results as well.
- As a result of culvert construction, 60 percent of households reported time savings. 76 percent of households saved time from road construction. A 2010 impact evaluation of community infrastructure works showed that while the majority of people spent up to 60 minutes on transportation per day before the Project, this amount was reduced to less than 30 minutes a day as a result of the Project. A weighted average was calculated, and the time saved averaged 17 minutes per person per day according to the survey.
- 90 percent of the 1407 Social Audit Committees formed in the villages submitted quarterly reports to their respective Gram Parishad, with the aim of ensuring transparency and accountability at community level (p.13).
- On time repayment rates of 93% and 92% for loans are reported from the saving funds and from the livelihood funds, respectively, as compared with the internationally accepted standard of 95%. (ICR, p.13).
- At project completion, 7,893 youth (ICR, p. 16) were employed as a result of targeted professional training financed by the Project and 47,300 were self-employed with support from Livelihood Loans, making for a total of 55,193 employed as a result of the Project (ICR, pp. iii and 16, and information from project team).
- 5.75 million employment-days were estimated to have been generated by construction of community infrastructure works built mostly using paid community labor (ICR, p.16).
- Of 17,710 “most vulnerable” who received a one-time grant, 14,361 graduated to accessing loans from Village Credit Organizations and initiated income generating activities.
- Provision of safe drinking water led to a reduction of 34 %, 30 % and 19% of incidence of diarrhea, dysentery and hepatitis, respectively. Calendar time intervals are not given for these reports.
- The project financed 2940 hand tube wells. Given that an average of 12 households were reported to use one tube well, the total number of beneficiaries was estimated at 176,000 persons.
- Livelihood loans provided by Additional Financing Credits I and II were invested in goats or cattle, small trade business, rickshaws and agriculture and fisheries. On average, these activities generated an incremental monthly income of about 1300 taka (US$17.3), which represents an increase of over 100 percent from before the project (according to the financial analysis in Annex 4).
The efficiency of achieving the Project Development Objective is rated substantial. Financial and economic rates of return were estimated by both the PAD and ICR. But the types of activities covered by the two estimates differed considerably. The PAD estimated an economic rate of return of 30.6% for the value of time saved in fetching water as a result of tube well construction and the ICR estimated an economic return (ERR) of 24.7% for income generating activities supported by microfinance. The coverage of total Project cost by the PAD and ICR estimates differs, with the PAD estimate covering 12% and the ICR covering 30%. The expost ERR is probably an underestimate since the methodology used total project costs but employed the benefits from the income generating activities only. Therefore, as compared with the standard minimal project ERR of 12%, the expost ERR is strong.
The initial closing date of June 30, 2007, was extended to June 30, 2011, which doubled the implementation period. This was attributed to several causes, including: (i) institution, capacity and confidence building taking longer than anticipated at appraisal; (ii) community-led development resulting in a slower pace set by some communities; and (iii) lack of Social Development Foundation management during some key periods (e.g., no managing director for 5.5 months, no general manager for programs for 1.5 years) (p.9). On the other hand, disruptions caused by the floods and cyclones and developing new approaches and procedures were an inevitable cause of delay.
Another indicator of efficiency presented by the ICR is the percentage of project funds that actually reached final beneficiaries in the form of community grants. The share of funds directly or indirectly benefiting the communities was 85 percent of project costs. The latter figure takes into account institutional development as well as community capacity building activities. The ICR also analyzes efficiency by comparing cost per village and cost per beneficiary of the two main implementing agencies: the Social Development Foundation and the Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation. It argues that even though these costs were less for the latter foundation than the former, there were non-valued benefits provided by the former foundation that tend to make up for the cost difference. However, these figures and arguments do not provide an adequate basis for assessing efficiency for the project as a whole. (p.18)
a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:
* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated