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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Village Infrastructure

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Village Infrastructure
Project Costs(US $M)
 60.0  35.0
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 30.0  23.3
Sector, Major Sect.:
General agriculture fishing and forestry sector, General public administration sector, Other social services, General transportation sector, General water/sanitation/flood protection sector,
Agriculture fishing and forestry; Law and justice and public administration; Health and other social services; Transportation; Water sanitation and flood protection
Cofinancing (US $M)
 23.5  11.1
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/2003 06/30/2004
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Nilakshi M. De Silva
Kris Hallberg Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
Project objective, as stated in the DCA, was to improve the quality of life of the rural poor, through

(i) empowering local communities and beneficiary groups to enable them to identify, plan, implement and maintain small, village-level infrastructure investments;
(ii) increasing their access to development resources for investments in public-type goods;
(iii) strengthening community and district level institutions; and
(iv) supporting the government’s strategy of decentralization of development responsibilities to District Assemblies.

b. Components
(a) Rural Water Infrastructure (appraisal estimate US$13.8 million; actual cost US$6.7million): support to integrated development and management of water resources for both agriculture and household use, including ponds, dugouts and other surface impoundments; boreholes, hand-dug wells and spring development; streamflow diversions and pumping; runoff management; pilot integrated catchment management; and pilot coastal zone management.
(b) Rural Transport Infrastructure (appraisal estimate US$13.1 million; actual cost US$5.7 million): financing existing feeder roads; construction and upgrading of village arterial tracks and trails; promotion of various intermediate means of transport (IMT) to reduce drudgery among the rural poor; and technical assistance, technology improvements and training.
(c) Rural Post-Harvest Infrastructure (appraisal estimate US$4.8 million; actual cost US$7.9 million): finance the provision of facilities for post-harvest treatment of crops and animal products, including on-farm and village-level facilities for drying, processing and storage; cottage industries and other income generating activities; financing for rural markets; and technical assistance for organizing and training users.
(d) Institutional Strengthening (appraisal estimate US$9.6 million; actual cost US$5.0 million): technical assistance for capacity building among farmer groups and community associations; District Assemblies (DAs) and their staff; sector institutions such as Ministry of Food & Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development and regional development planning committees, community leaders; small contractors and local entrepreneurs; as well as provision of equipment, vehicles and installation of basic MIS for district administrations.
(e) Rural Infrastructure Coordinating Unit (RICU) (appraisal estimate US$7.1 million; actual cost US$8.8 million): support to the operations of RICU which provides national-level coordination and implementing support to Districts and communities.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
Final project costs were 58% of appraisal with US$25 million remaining undisbursed. Final cost of infrastructure components were about 50% less than at appraisal, excluding the post-harvest infrastructure component which overran costs due to inclusion of activities not planned at appraisal. At project closing, about 77% of the IDA credit was disbursed, while only half the cofinancing had materialized. Counterpart funding also fell short of expectation, with just 10% of target achieved, and the Government’s final contribution was mostly in the form of tax exemptions granted to the project. The project was slow to start and extended 6 months beyond the scheduled closing date to accommodate the high demand for sub-projects.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Primary Objective: Achieved. The project has contributed to improving the quality of life among the rural poor, by improving their access to basic rural infrastructure such as water and transport. Under the project, rural infrastructure relating to water, transport and post-harvest activities were constructed in every district. The rural water facilities have increased access to safe sources of water, reduced effort needed to carry water for household and farming needs and enabled crop production under irrigation to nearly double. Rehabilitation of feeder roads, farm tracks and trails has reduced the isolation of rural villages and improved access to production centers. Post-harvest infrastructure such as grain stores and small-scale agro-processing equipment have increased the shelf life of harvests and enabled farmers to produce more transformed products. About 40% of beneficiaries enjoy greater food security because of new sources of supplementary income and, according to a Beneficiary Survey conducted under the project, 50% of farmers feel that they now enjoy a better quality of life.
Specific Objectives:
(i) Achieved: 305 villages are now capable of undertaking new projects with their own funds without relying on external assistance. There is considerable ownership of sub-projects by the beneficiaries and particularly in relation to the water investments, local communities have shown willingness and capacity to manage and maintain the resources adequately.
(ii) Partially achieved; the project provided resources for many public-goods type investments, including the construction of 1354 rural water facilities, 174 markets, 43 crib and drying floors, 19 community level storage facilities and the rehabilitation of 552kms of roads. However the investments completed, particularly under the post-harvest component, are substantially below targets set at appraisal.
(iii) Achieved: the project provided training in participatory planning to all 110 DAs and 61 pilot Area Councils which have utilized this knowledge to prepare their development plans. Training in financial management, decentralization and planning provided to 100 District finance officers has helped to clear project backlogs. In addition, 60 traditional leaders and 3,300 beneficiary groups participated in gender awareness training and various other groups, including NGOs, CBOs and private service providers, underwent training in procurement, business management and maintenance of facilities.
(iv) Partially achieved: the project supported decentralization by enhancing the capacity of the DAs and Area Councils. By project closing, about half the DAs had improved district administration and were able to plan their own long term development.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The project is reported to have benefitted a large number of communities and individuals. With the construction of rural water infrastructure under the project, 693 villages have obtained access to safe sources of water. Number of groups using agro-processing has increased by about 1,500 and close to 1,700 groups are reported to be benefitting from post-harvest infrastructure provided through the project. The capacity building component is estimated to have reached 12,995 communities with a population of 3.9 million,
  • Under the private goods financing facility, 425 small-scale agro-processing projects were completed, facilitating the processing of agricultural produce at the village level, which has enabled value-addition to commodities and reduced post-harvest losses.
  • Slowed the trend towards urban drift by promoting economic and social activity around village level micro-projects.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

A large number of performance indicators were set at appraisal - which may not have been appropriate given the demand-driven nature of the project. Some activities envisaged under the project fell far short of projections. For example, under the road transport infrastructure component only 207 (out of planned 1,000) IMTs were distributed and only 6 (out of planned 400) community leaders trained in maintaining farm tracks. Under the post-harvest infrastructure component, only 7% of crib and drying floors and less than 1% of community level storage facilities envisaged at appraisal were actually constructed.
  • Markets constructed under the project, which was not a need identified by the communities but inherited from a predecessor project, are not cost effective according to the Beneficiary Survey and 10% of the markets are not in use as traders cannot be persuaded to move to the new sites.
  • Despite an environmental assessment, some environmental issues arising from the rural transport infrastructure component, such as third parties accessing quarried and borrow pits used by the project and increased access by loggers and poachers to remote areas, were not adequately addressed through mitigating measures.
  • Over the project period, average nominal income among beneficiaries increased by 116% but average real income decreased by 10%. However, the ICR suggests that in the absence of the project the decrease in real income would have been greater.
  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    Institutional Dev.:
    HighSubstantialWhile a large number of groups and individuals received training, the ICR has not established the effectiveness of the training programs to the extent that the project has made a critical contribution to the country's institutions.
    Bank Performance:
    Borrower Perf.:
    Quality of ICR:

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    M&E indicators should be realistic and appropriate. In designing an M&E framework for a community demand driven project, setting performance indicators based on achieving certain types of micro-projects (such as number of bore-holes constructed) may not be appropriate. Such an approach risks distorting the demand-driven principle of the project, resulting in micro-projects which may not reflect community priorities.
    • Community infrastructure projects should be accompanied by capacity building and training for beneficiaries, to ensure optimal use of the infrastructure provided. In particular, beneficiaries may need to be trained on how to carry out maintenance, which would contribute to the sustainable use of the infrastructure.
    • Capacity building and training components should be accompanied by space and opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills. Training programs provided through the project are estimated to have reached close to 13,000 communities, but the extremely large reach of this component was not matched by the project's other components which provided the space to use these skills. Often, capacity is better created through a learning-by-doing approach than by training programs alone.

    8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

              Why?  To verify the benefits of the project as well as add to the Bank's knowledge base about designing and implementing successful CDD projects.

    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR is generally satisfactory but there are some shortcomings. The ICR does not explain why actual project costs are so far below projections nor why the counterpart contribution was so low. Results of some planned sub-components, such as pilot coastal zone management under the rural water infrastructure component, are not reported. Beneficiary Survey results should be accompanied by an explanation of how the survey was conducted and how many beneficiaries participated. Finally, more attention could have been paid to drawing out generalizable lessons from this project, which was one of the first CDD projects in the region.

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