Announcement Archive

Report on the Japan Social Development Fund Dialogue Series

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

community meeting in Burkina Faso
Community members gathered in a quarterly meeting to discuss progress. Source: JSDF Project Brief

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The 4th session of the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) Dialogue series was held on February 28, 2013 at the Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC). These Dialogue Series are prepared by the World Bank’s Global Partnerships and Trust Fund Operations (CFPTO) Department in cooperation with TDLC and the World Bank Tokyo Office. 

The session showcased the project, “Community Monitoring for Better Health and Education Service Delivery (CMP),” a World Bank project funded by the JSDF that aimed to improve service delivery in the health and educational sectors in Burkina Faso by building capacity and strengthening multi-level coalitions among various stakeholders through community monitoring activities using a participatory monitoring and evaluation (PME) approach.

An audience composed of government officials, development practitioners, professionals in the private sector and academia, filled the conference room at TDLC. Jean-François Kobiane, the project coordinator of the implementing agency, Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP) and Project Assistant Alexis Loye joined the session via video conferencing from their respective locations to explain about the project . To represent the beneficiaries, Sinare Soumaïla, the mayor of Zitenga in Burkina Faso’s Plateau Central region also joined the session via a live video conference connection. 

TDLC during JSDF Burkina Faso Session
Participants at TDLC listening intently to Dr. Kobiane’s presentation

About the JSDF Dialogue Series: Platform for Knowledge Exchange

The JSDF Dialogue Series, which highlights the achievements and lessons learned from projects funded by JSDF around the world aims to connect stakeholders and the Japanese general public with project beneficiaries for disseminating good practices and encouraging further communication and knowledge exchange among various actors.
The series launched in March 2012, have featured projects in Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and the Russian Federation. Responding to past participants’ requests to know more about Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), the CMP was selected for its solid project design on participatory M&E and impact evaluation components. With the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) coming up in June, this session on Burkina Faso proved to be timely for the Japanese stakeholders’ increasing attention on African development issues.

The Bank, Japan, and JSDF: A Solid Partnership

“Japan at one point, was one of the largest borrowers of the Bank,” started Director Shigeo Shimizu of the Development Institutions Division, International Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Finance. He spoke after the opening remarks made by Special Representative Kazushige Taniguchi of the World Bank Tokyo Office. Shimizu mentioned the pivotal role played by the international communities and their vital support in addition to favorable domestic factors that helped Japan make a rapid recovery after World War II and said, “despite today’s financial difficulties in Japan, because of our country’s experience, we recognize the importance of international economic aid.” 

Now the second largest contributor to the World Bank, Japan also provides trust funds such as JSDF, a unique grant that supports community-driven development and poverty reduction projects that empowers and directly improves the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable groups not reached by other programs. Shimizu added that the project in Burkina Faso strongly reflects these features that make JSDF stand out from other projects financed by other country donors.  He concluded by expressing his hope that the participants of the seminar find it useful in their future endeavors.

The Project: Community Monitoring for Better Health and Education in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso in recent years has had successful development outcomes at the macro level but service delivery at the decentralized level, especially in the social sectors, remains poor. (Refer to Box 1)  The top-down governance system in Burkina has left little room for robust civil society and community engagements.

With other rural development initiatives in Burkina Faso underway, the CMP responded to the demands expressed by various stakeholders in the country and kicked off in 2010 with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of health and education services through empowering the local communities and individuals to better monitor service provision in these two sectors.

To this end, an innovative PME method that goes one step ahead the traditional M&E approach (Refer toTable 1) was designed to include various stakeholders such as elected government officials, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, local committees, and illiterate members of the community was used in the project. It targeted 18 health facilities and 18 schools in nine poor rural municipalities in three geographically dispersed regions.

Box 1: Burkina Faso

Flag of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a low-income, land-locked African country located in the Western part of the continent with a population of about 16 million people. Map of Africa In 2009, roughly 46% of the total population of the country was living below the national poverty line. Adult literacy rate was below 50% in 2012. The country was ranked 181st of 187 countries in the United Nation’s Human Development Index in 2011. See World Bank’s Country Brief on Burkina Faso or Open Data for more. 

 

In the early stages of the project, workshops were held to raise public awareness of the objectives and strategy of the community monitoring and to build coalitions among people at the national, municipal, and facility levels. As Kobiane emphasized, this awareness-raising component proved to be one of the challenging aspects and a crucial prerequisite for the success of the project as it dealt with the expectations and motivations of the beneficiaries.

About 65% of the project budget was invested in training and capacity-building and in the implementation of a pilot community monitoring exercise. 

This unique aspect of the project design included an experimental impact evaluation and the collection of a baseline survey within the two-year span of the project. The baseline data included a survey of approximately 30,000 people in 4,120 households and shed light on the state of the local schools and health facilities and its services. 

Members of local committees, NGOs, and citizens, the end-service users were fully engaged in the project, meeting regularly for these activities and using community scorecards to gather the information. The results of this PME exercise were disseminated to the Health and Education Ministry, national and local representatives, as well as the general public, through assemblies, community radio broadcasts and other media to reinforce accountability of elected officials and service providers and in turn, improve the overall quality of social services. 

While investments in facilities or developing infrastructure were not included in the main focus of the project, Mayor Soumaïla commented on the significance of the monitoring process that allowed him to know the needs of his community and thanked the World Bank and the government of Japan for this endeavor.

Table 1

Criteria Traditional Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME)
Who analyzes the information? Outside experts/Task Team Leaders Beneficiaries with the support of TTLs and other actors involved
What about the indicators? Pre-set and fix indicators Criteria that is evolving and is being adjusted to take corrective actions if needed
Which type of information? Essentially quantitative Qualitative analysis
Does it take into account other perspectives? Weak. Tends to homogenize info Joint learning of stakeholders at various levels. Different points of view taken into account.
Is it flexible? Weak. Indicators are standardized. Iterative Process

Source: JSDF Project Brief

Dialogue between Project Members and Japanese Stakeholders

Following the presentations, five participants, which included a university professor and staff of NGOs and development institutions asked questions on the specifics of the training and capacity-building activities, project difficulties, and issues of motivation and expectations of the beneficiaries.

During the exchange between the project members and the seminar participants, the project members stressed the importance of increased awareness and attitudinal changes that took place in individuals. “Making the people realize that only themselves can make the changes in their communities was crucial in getting the people to meet regularly and identify issues on how to solve them together,” Loye explained. He shared an anecdote; though not an immediate target in the CMP, a community succeeded to build a school by mobilizing support through monitoring, documenting, and advocacy.

The session was closed with remarks by TDLC’s Manager Tomoyuki Naito reminding us of the decisive role of awareness-raising in the success of this project—by changing attitudes and behavior, building capacity, strengthening coalitions in communities, we can see real change for the better. Individuals feel empowered and are able to decide a better future for their families and their communities as a whole.