Bangladesh: Community Participation Improves Local Governance

Highlights
  • Local governance is being enhanced in Bangladesh as communities are increasingly playing a greater role in their decision making process.
  • With Bank funding of $290 million, the Second Local Government Support Project (LGSP2) in part provides a block grant to all 4,553 of the country’s rural communities, funds they can use to deliver vital local services.
  • The project has improved local capacity to deliver critical services, as well as transparency, accountability, planning, financial management and civic participation.

For people living in the remote Bangladeshi village of Saraswatipur, getting to the nearest health care provider 10 kilometers away in Upazila Health Complex in Mohadevpur meant an hour-long, bumpy trek by rickshaw-van. That kept many Saraswatipur residents from seeking routine health care and was often too slow to help people with serious health emergencies.

 

The problem prompted citizens in Mohadevpur upazila, to transform a battery-run easy bike into an ambulance with enough room for three. It reduced an hour-long journey to 20 minutes and led many other local communities to create their own small fleets of these life-saving vehicles.

The funding for this endeavor came from the World Bank-supported Second Local Government Support Project (LGSP2). Recognizing that well-functioning local governments are critical to building on Bangladesh’s trajectory of economic and social development, the project has improved­­ local capacity to deliver vital services, as well as transparency, accountability, planning, financial management and civic participation.

With Bank funding of $290 million, the project in part provides a block grant to all 4,553 of the country’s Union Parishads (UPs), funds they can use to deliver vital local services. The project also supports UPs’ periodic financial and performance audits, improving accountability and transparency.

It also helps ensure that self-organized local community meetings are operational and open to the public to determine and prioritize basic needs. And the project has a mandate to ensure that women are part of government decision making and comprise at least one third of the Committees.

Moreover, at a time when Bangladesh is experiencing rapid urbanization, strengthening the capacity of local governments in Bangladesh is as urgent as ever.

Under this project, 130 million people across the country have benefitted from enhanced governance. All UPs received annual financial audits for improved accountability, and revenues collected by UPs across the country have increased by 20 percent.

Source: The World Bank. Date: September 28, 2016

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/09/28/bangladeshs-future-depends-on-strengthening-local-government-capacity