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World Bank competition for implementable, innovative projects
Saturday 7 May 2005
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SOUTH AFRICA: World Bank competition for implementable, innovative projects

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

©  The World Bank Group

The World Bank's initiative to act as a platform for innovative ideas

JOHANNESBURG, 18 May (PLUSNEWS) - The World Bank (WB) will host a Development Marketplace in Johannesburg early in June to award about US $400,000 to proposals that can be turned into action to help combat HIV/AIDS in the region.

The initiative will provide a platform for organisations to present new, creative ideas around fighting HIV/AIDS and share information on community-based best practices.

"The Development Marketplace is about knowledge exchange and turning ideas on how to fight HIV/AIDS into action. The World Bank and its development partners will award start-up funds to projects that bring people and institutions together, and have the best promise of moving from concept to concrete results," the Bank's external relations officer and project co-ordinator, Mallory Saleson, told PlusNews.

Competition categories included promoting income generation for HIV positive people, especially in rural areas; stepping up awareness for prevention, especially among young people; reaching vulnerable people, including children, people with disabilities and orphans; ways to destigmatise the disease; and HIV/Aids workplace and private-sector community programmes.

The regional event is part of a global competition started by the Bank in 1998, with the aim of advancing the fight against poverty. The Bank recognised that the offensive against HIV/AIDS had to be multipronged if it was to be effective, and required broadly based input and support. Other sponsors include the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Bank's office in South Africa launched the project in January this year, inviting proposals from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

Nearly 300 proposals were submitted to the first Development Marketplace from non-governmental and community-based organisations, small businesses, universities, schools and the scouts movement. The event will comprise a Country Innovation Day and a Knowledge Exchange open to community organisations, the private sector, academia, foundations and government.

An independent assessment panel representing various community organisations, business and academia narrowed the original 300 proposals to nearly 40 finalists, who will participate in the event.

Another independent panel of competition partners and WB colleagues, including Ms Debrework Zewdie, HIV/AIDS Advisor to the Bank, will selecte the winning entries between 1 and 3 June, 2004. The winners will be announced by WB Managing Director Dr Mamphela Ramphele at the event in Johannesburg.

"The assessment panel made sure that the entrants met the criteria, namely that ideas were innovative and creative, and could be scaled up. Generally, workshops were bypassed, as most felt there are enough 'talk-shops'," said Saleson.

Ideas included a solar-powered bakery, children's industrial theatre and audiotape messages for reaching groups of people in transit, among a slew of others - proposals were even received from a village chief and a herbalist, Saleson remarked.

The call for entries was made on websites and via email, through HIV/AIDS networks, contacts, face-to-face meetings that yielded word-of-mouth, the project partners, UNAIDS, IFC, and especially USAID, noted Saleson.

USAID said the US government had prioritised the fight against HIV/AIDS, not only for humanitarian reasons, but because HIV/AIDS threatened stability and the development of nations around the world. The US government believed community-based approaches were critical in successfully combating the epidemic and ensuring that programmes were sustainable.

"We asked that entrants explain how the target community would benefit, and are they open to the idea. Ninety-five percent have been consulting with the communities already - they know what they need and want, and have already brought partners in - which shows that the groundwork has been done; it showed that people are really thinking about how to tackle and destigmatise HIV/AIDS. A lot of people are already doing good work with little support," said Saleson. "It's humbling to see people with so few resources committing everything to do this work."


Recent SOUTH AFRICA Reports
Project empowers rural communities to shape own HIV/AIDS programmes,  3/May/05
Clinic tackles urgent need for AIDS/TB treatment,  2/May/05
Voices of mothers on preventing HIV transmission ,  11/Apr/05
Initiative to alleviate effect of AIDS on education,  7/Apr/05
Shared breastfeeding and poor medical hygiene fuels HIV/AIDS,  6/Apr/05
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

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