Last week the World Bank announced 100 finalists of the China Development Marketplace. The finalists have been selected out of 975 proposals received from civil society organizations all over China, through two rounds of careful assessments. The selected proposals came from 28 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions all over the country, covering a wide ranging of activities from growing and breeding activities, provision of clean water and biogas development in rural areas, skills training and other services provided to farmers and migrant workers, education and health services for rural poor population and urban vulnerable groups, assistance to various ethnic minority groups, to environmental protection and natural resources management. Most of the applicants are grassroots civil society organizations.
The first round of assessment of the proposals, conducted by teams of assessors mostly from partner organizations outside the World Bank, was completed on September 25, resulting in a selection of about 215 proposals. The second round of assessment, started on September 30 and conducted by sector specialists mostly from the World Bank, chose the 100 finalists. The list of finalists is now available on the special website of the China Development Marketplace. The finalists will be required to provide full project proposals by mid-November. They will also be invited to Beijing to display their projects and be interviewed by a jury composed of donors on December 7-8. 40-50 winners will be selected by the jury and receive grants for implementation or scaling up of their projects at an award ceremony in the Great Hall of the People attended by representatives of the government, international development agencies, donors, media and civil society organizations on December 8.
Progress has also been made on the fund raising front. In addition to the contribution of the World Bank, China Development Marketplace has received cash contributions or pledges from the Red Avenue Chemicals Co. Ltd, International Finance Corporation (the private sector arm of the World Bank Group), Asia Development Bank, Department for International Development of the United Kingdom, Canadian International Development Agency, AusAid, Norwegian Embassy, Ford Foundation and Lehman and Li. Hogan & Hartson has provided in-kind contribution. The bigger donor so far is the Red Avenue Chemicals Co. Ltd., a Shanghai based company specialized in the sale of rubber processing agents, which has contributed RMB800, 000. "We like to work with the World Bank and do more for the needed," said Ms. Zhang Ning, President of the company.
On his recent visit to China, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz emphasized the role of civil society in development: "if you look at successful development in the world, you'll see that it's not only a strong private sector, but a strong civil society that contributes to development." "So the World Bank is working with civil society groups to strengthen their ability to contribute to the country's development, and we're working with the government to provide a better environment for civil society to grow," he said.
David Dollar, World Bank Country Director for China said," there is tremendous energy at the grassroots level in China. Often these community organizations know best how to address poverty and environmental problems. Development Marketplace aims to support their good ideas and good work."
China Development Marketplace is an initiative of the World Bank aiming to identify and support innovative bottom-up development ideas that deliver results, which can then be expanded or replicated in the country.
(China.org.cn October 25, 2005)