World Bank seeks best ideas for community environment projects

The World Bank has launched a competition to find the best ideas to provide clean water, sanitation and energy to local communities in developing countries.

A total of US$4 million is available for the projects, with a maximum of US$200,000 per proposal. The idea is to find proposals for small-scale projects that can be scaled up.

The winners will be selected by an international jury of World Bank and independent development experts at the Development Marketplace event on May 9, 2006 in Washington.

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said that ensuring all people have access to basic services was at the heart of development. "Yet today, millions of people still spend hours each day fetching clean water from faraway wells, two million children die from sanitation-related diseases, and families get sick from inhaling fumes from dirty fuels used for cooking. Development Marketplace competitions give local entrepreneurs the opportunity to pursue home-grown solutions to these problems."

Applicants have until November 30th to send in their proposals in the following four categories:
  • Service delivery: sustainable delivery of water supply, sanitation, and/or energy services to poor households;
  • Environment: renewable energy, clean water technologies, energy efficiency, and/or environmentally sustainable sanitation solutions to poor households and to small enterprises;
  • Health: Protecting health from environmental risk factors, such as contaminated drinking water and unsafe sanitation, through such things as programs for hygiene promotion and behavioural change;
  • Natural Resources: Sustainable management of natural resources specifically for the provision of water supply, sanitation and energy to the poor.

    "Development Marketplace events are a unique opportunity for us and our development partners to find and fund promising local ideas that can yield great benefits and be replicated in other communities," said John Wilton, Vice President of strategy, finance and risk management. "These yearly competitions allow us to get closer to people at the frontline of development who are reaching those needs."

    Previous winning projects include children's merry-go-rounds that doubled as water pumps for villages in South Africa, reuse of mosque water to irrigate fields in Yemen and constructing portable solar energy generators for remote Laotian households to rent.

    David Hopkins

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