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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Pilot Literacy Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Pilot Literacy Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 5.7  2.74
Cote d'Ivoire
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 5  1.82
Sector, Major Sect.:
Adult literacy/non-formal education, Other social services,
Education; Health and other social services
Cofinancing (US $M)
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/2002 12/31/2004
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Helen Abadzi
Ridley Nelson Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The Pilot Literacy Project was to develop and test effective arrangements for the delivery of demand driven adult functional literacy programs of acceptable quality through nongovernmental providers to the rural poor, notably women and girls in the North, the area of lowest school enrollments for girls. The goal of the pilot phase was to learn how the programs, systems and procedures can be scaled up to serve a broader network of programs and providers to achieve a significant reduction in illiteracy among the 15-40 age group, particularly among women, helping them acquire the knowledge and skills required to enhance their lives and those of their children.

b. Components
(a) Testing functional literacy programs (US$3.2m at appraisal, US$0.75m actual) to support the Government’s implementation of a new approach, that of entrusting NGOs, development projects, regional associations and other qualified providers with the delivery of literacy and post-literacy programs requested by beneficiaries at the community level.

Developing and testing a strategy for post-literacy US$0.5m at appraisal, 0 actual) to test essential strategies for post-literacy to ensure that the program could be scaled up and that it was sustainable. It was widely known that reading retention is determined by the availability of reading material and the need to use reading competencies. These are limited in rural areas.
Management, Supervision and Evaluation. US$2.0m at appraisal, US$1.99m actual) to support the development of a new autonomous institution with governmental and private sponsorship, that had the authority to receive and manage public, private and donor funds.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
After extensions totaling 2 years the project closed in December 2004, and US$3.78m were canceled.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The overall objective was not achieved. Details on subobjectives are as follows:
(a) Developing and testing effective arrangements for literacy provision (modest achievement). The government received 146 sub-project applications to provide literacy; these corresponded to 55 literacy providers of which 38 of were NGOs, 15 were private centers and 2 were associations. These 146 sub-projects could reach 46,775 beneficiaries. However, many providers could not carry out the proposed work; finally, only 48 sub-projects covering 14,445 beneficiaries were approved. Of these only 44% were in politically safe areas where the program could be implemented.
(b) Learning how to scale up programs, systems and procedures (modest achievement). The response rate by NGOs suggests that programs and systems used in this pilot project could be scaled up if the political situation were stable.
(c) Helping beneficiaries acquire knowledge that enhanced their lives (negligible achievement). The project reached only 6014 adults (compared to a target of 30,000) and succeeded in making 3,759 literate (61% passed a test). There was not enough evidence to determine whether women and girls who participated in adult literacy courses acquired skills to enhance their lives.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The project partly succeeded in testing the feasibility of functional literacy programs and demonstrated that the strategy of marshalling NGOs to provide literacy (a practice called “faire-faire”) could be implemented in Cote d’Ivoire. The "faire faire" strategy was accepted by the main stakeholders (literacy providers, beneficiaries, and communities), and the beneficiaries’ demand for participation exceeded the supply.

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

-The project was implemented at a time of military coups and major sociopolitical instability. In addition, IDA suspended portfolio disbursements countrywide from September 2000 to February 2002 and again in June 2004. Though the project continued to operate, beneficiaries in the rebel-held north could not be reached.
- There was no leadership or political ownership for the new literacy institution envisaged in the project. Disagreements among agencies regarding the institutional placement of the program caused problems and delays early on.
- Most NGOs were small and of recent establishment, and they did not have expertise in designing literacy materials, teaching, evaluating learners, or conducting socioeconomic studies.
- Beneficiaries had little participation in developing literacy materials for their areas and in selecting teachers. Final selection was generally made by the village chief in agreement with literacy providers.
- There was a lack of Bank staff continuity, and the inadequacies in project performance were not sufficiently reflected in the PSRs.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
Borrower Perf.:
SatisfactoryUnsatisfactoryLow government commitment and strife among implementing agencies reduced implementation potential.
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

-It is difficult to implement projects, particularly those involving complex institutional arrangements and partnerships, in a climate of low government commitment and political instability. The Bank should ensure clear, up-front political support and commitment before project effectiveness.
- The "faire faire" approach is effective in carrying out adult literacy projects and reaching communities. However, it requires a functional institution that can coordinate NGO actions, guide them, and train them.
- Merely managing NGOs does not ensure that literacy activities will be carried out. NGOs that may express willingness to teach adult literacy do not necessarily have expertise in this topic. Rather than giving weak NGOs responsibility for development of materials and training,projects should provide training and materials along with considerable help in selecting suitable teachers who may also need training by governments.

8. Audit Recommended?  No


9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is satisfactory and provides a detailed account of the (unfortunate) events involved in the project.

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