Social provisions, such as education and health care, are considered a basic human right. However, in some parts of the world, the basic needs of some marginalised communities are still left unattended. ‘Packing a Punch’ explores a series of World Bank projects that are attempting to include the previously excluded; to extend life’s basic necessities to those who have been left out.
People Direct – Indonesia
In the wake of 32 years of autocratic rule, Indonesia is struggling to build a new democracy. This involves a rapid shift from corrupt and highly centralised control to administration dispersed across hundreds of districts that operate according to the rule of law. There has been a comprehensive effort to re-involve the people at every level – from the villages to national governance. The Kecamatan Development Project (KDP), in collaboration with the World Bank, has been instrumental in reducing poverty through the improvement of local-level governance in Indonesia.
Indigenous Ingenious – Ecuador
The rural indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian communities are the most poverty-stricken social groups in Ecuador. They suffer from desperate living conditions, low schooling levels, high unemployment levels, minimal access to health services, and social and economic exclusion. Recently, however, a new vision has emerged that builds on the positive qualities of indigenous cultures and societies. Working with local communities and NGOs, the World Bank is contributing to the Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian Peoples Development Project (PRODEPINE) to address the needs of these peoples and to help improve their livelihoods.
First Aid For Health Care – Bosnia and Herzegovina
The war in Bosnia caused widespread devastation. Over half of the population was displaced and 10 per cent was killed or wounded. 30% of the hospitals were destroyed or severely damaged, and almost a third of health-care professionals were lost due to death or emigration. Until now, health-care reform has been slow. However, the health-care system is now moving away from city-based hospital treatment. Outreach clinics, known as ambulantas, have been refurbished using finances from the World Bank’s country assistance strategy (CAS), with the aim of treating 80 per cent of all patients.
Spreading the Word – Afghanistan
After decades of war, the provision of education is one of Afghanistan’s main requirements in the process of reconstruction. In 2002, the World Bank reopened its office in Kabul and committed funds to an Emergency Education Rehabilitation and Development Project. This and the efforts of organisations such as Swedish Committee for Afghanistan have contributed to a rapid increase in the number of women teachers in schools, and helped the education system reach a more equitable footing.
People Power – Malawi
In Malawi, 6.3 million people are defined as poor, which means that almost two-thirds of the country’s population are unable to fulfil their basic economic, political, social, psychological, and physiological needs. Recently, however, communities in Malawi have established an effective way of improving their quality of life. The Community Score Card process is designed so that community members have the power to evaluate the provision of services such health care, and to ensure that high standards are upheld.