In partnership with the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Reduction and Development (LGOP) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA), the World Bank today launched the China Development Marketplace (DM), a program aiming to identify and support innovative bottom-up development ideas that deliver results, which can then be expanded or replicated in China.
Since 1998, the World Bank’s global Development Marketplace program has awarded nearly US$40 million to more than 1,000 groundbreaking projects in over 70 countries. Country-level Development Marketplaces (CDMs) are "mini marketplaces" for innovative ideas that address local development challenges. Like the global competition, they consist of a competitive, juried process that awards small grants to social innovators, and a knowledge forum to share ideas and provide networking opportunities. They aim to: identify innovative approaches to alleviate poverty at the very grassroots level; mobilize public opinion around key development issues; engage civil society organizations (CSOs), government, private sector, and development agencies in new ideas through partnerships; and leverage other resources to broaden partnerships for supporting social entrepreneurs in fighting poverty.
The China DM, which is scheduled to take place on December 7 and 8, 2005, will be the first country-level competition among Chinese organizations.
Wu Zhong, director-general of the Department of International Cooperation and Social Mobilization, LGOP, stressed the importance of projects like the China DM in the fight against poverty. “China is entering a new phase of poverty alleviation. The remaining poverty in China is much more difficult to tackle; there are also new problems and challenges. Poverty alleviation policy and approaches need to be improved,” said Wu Zhong. “Civil society organizations have their strengths, for example, their ability to target at poor, and to effectively transfer resources. We should fully develop their potential. LGOP is pleased to partner with the World Bank in identifying and supporting innovative poverty reduction projects coming from CSOs, guiding the sound development of the civil society sector and enabling them to play a bigger role in poverty reduction.”
In recent years, CSOs in China have been more actively engaged in poverty reduction and service delivery to the poor through implementing projects at the grassroots level. They often work in partnership with local governments, the business sector and other community organizations, to develop innovative approaches to addressing local development needs.
“The government emphasizes and encourages the development of public benefit and charitable activities. Now, more and more CSOs are involved in such activities, including poverty reduction,” said Li Yong, deputy director-general of the Department of NGO Administration, MoCA. “The Ministry of Civil Affairs supports the World Bank in its China Development Marketplace, which is designed to stimulate innovations and encourage CSOs to play a greater role in poverty reduction. I hope that China DM will receive great support from all parts of society and attract a large number of CSOs to participate.”
The China DM has chosen as its theme “Supporting Innovations for Scaling-Up Services that Reach the Poor”, reflecting the joint efforts of the World Bank and the Government of China to work with CSOs and mobilize all resources to fight poverty. Chinese CSOs will be invited to submit their project concepts during June and July. An independent team of assessors will select 100 finalists, who will be invited to Beijing for a public exhibition of their projects on December 7 and 8, 2005, and be interviewed by a jury. Fifty winning projects will be selected to receive funding (up to US$30,000) at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People attended by senior government leaders and officials, sponsors, academia and CSO representatives.
Through making these small grants, the China DM is expected to support innovative projects that will help to scale-up services for vulnerable groups, such as women and children, the disabled, and ethnic minorities, in areas such as education and health services, environmental protection, and resource management. It is also expected that the China DM will address topics including urban poverty as it relates to unemployment and migrant workers, the use of science and technology for poverty reduction, and rural integrated community poverty alleviation.
The World Bank has committed US$250,000 for the China DM and expects to raise additional resources from donors, the business sector and individuals who have an interest in supporting CSOs for their innovative poverty fighting projects.
“We are excited about hosting the first ever Development Marketplace in China,” said David Dollar, World Bank Country Director for China. “This program is an important part of the World Bank’s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals. But it is more than just a World Bank program. It is an event where stakeholders involved in poverty reduction in China come together to encourage civil society organizations to contribute to the goal of building a harmonious society. I hope to make this an annual event”.
Other CDM partners include the World Bank/IMF Staff Marco Polo Society, Asian Development Bank, European Union, International Finance Corporation, China Enterprise Confederation, American Chamber of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce, China NPO Network, China Association for NGO Cooperation, China Association of Ethnic Economy, Beijing Cultural Communication Center for Facilitators, Mercy Corp, Oxfam Hong Kong, Tsinghua University NGO Research Center, and Hogan & Hartson L.L.P.
(China.org.cn June 2, 2005)