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Building a Center of Expertise

GPOBA continues to develop as a Center of Expertise. The aim is ensure that knowledge and experience gained through the design and implementation of OBA subsidy projects and TA activities feeds back into GPOBA’s own operations and is shared with donors, governments, and other development partners to support the use of OBA/RBF and to demonstrate proof of concept.

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Working with Donors, Other Development Partners, and Governments

GPOBA works with other development partners, governments, and the World Bank Group to mainstream OBA approaches. Technical and advisory initiatives supporting the design and implementation of projects, awareness building, and knowledge management were key elements of the mainstreaming effort during this fiscal year.

As part of an ongoing collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Sida, GPOBA participated in a workshop organized by the ADB in Thailand to share operational knowledge on the application of OBA financing in the energy sector. The workshop was attended by representatives of government institutions and utilities from Asian countries. In Washington, DC, GPOBA and the World Bank Group organized training sessions for staff of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on OBA core concepts and lessons learned from design and implementation of OBA projects for grid and off-grid energy access. Future areas of cooperation discussed with MCC included GPOBA support for MCC operations in the energy and water sectors. Sida hosted in-depth discussions in Stockholm with its results-based approach project team and GPOBA, during which GPOBA presented findings from its recent study on the current RBF context, players and instruments. In addition, GPOBA presented to a general Sida audience on OBA/RBF and project experience.

GPOBA worked with select governments in FY15 to scale-up successful pilots and mainstream OBA approaches. This included grant agreement signings with the governments of Bangladesh, Kenya, and Uganda for expanding successful OBA pilots, and ongoing work with the governments of Nepal and the Philippines for OBA facilities in energy and water.

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In addition, GPOBA and the World Bank’s Leadership, Learning and Innovation group held a workshop on OBA/RBF and Social Impact Bonds for the Polish, Czech and Lithuanian governments. The workshop built participants’ understanding of OBA and results-based initiatives in order to develop project concepts for increasing access to basic services, including clean energy, education, and employment training for marginalized communities. GPOBA also provided technical training in Indonesia for the Local Government and Decentralization Project to strengthen the verification component of the program, which uses an output-based disbursement approach.

Working with the World Bank Group

From its location in the Global Practice for Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience (GPSURR), GPOBA has continued to support urban and rural projects in which OBA and RBF offer viable solutions to access challenges, often as part of larger sector programs. Cross-practice collaboration is strongly emphasized under the new World Bank structure, and GPOBA is exemplifying this approach, supporting nearly half of the Bank’s new global practices, and working particularly closely with the energy and water practices. GPOBA provides support for both operations and knowledge activities, as it works to integrate OBA and RBF into infrastructure and development projects.

Support to GPSURR: GPOBA delivered a number of knowledge-building presentations to GPSURR. These included a briefing presentation to GPSURR management and a briefing book for the Senior Director, as well as a presentation on OBA and service-provider behavior change during a town hall meeting. GPOBA took part in GPSURR collaborative platforms and developed a protocol on information flow from GPOBA to the GPSURR portal. GPOBA participated very actively in the organization of the GPSURR 2015 Forum, with the theme Building Sustainable Communities, delivering two OBA/RBF awareness sessions in Istanbul and Washington.

Contributions to the World Bank’s Program for Results (PforR): Since the PforR program began three years ago, GPOBA has supported ten PforR projects with funding, conducted joint reviews, project design meetings and GPOBA trainings that include PforR project leaders. This fiscal year, GPOBA supported three ongoing PforR operations. Activities included development of disbursement- linked indicators in the water and sanitation sector in Mexico; support to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works in Uruguay on a road rehabilitation and maintenance program; and work in the education sector in Tanzania. A new TA initiative in FY15 supports a multi-sector PforR project to develop a beneficiary feedback system in Ceará, Brazil for results-based aid and management.

Supporting RBF activities: GPOBA provided technical assistance to two ongoing World Bank RBF initiatives during the fiscal year – one in Indonesia, building capacity for verification of outputs by central and local governments, and another in Zimbabwe, supporting the roll-out of RBF health vouchers. Two new TA activities for RBF were initiated in FY15: support to the World Bank Group Urban Team on an assessment of the solid waste sector in African cities and the development of an RBF mechanism and policy recommendations to improve services for the poor in these cities, and an initiative supporting the WEvolve program in South Asia, exploring opportunities for OBA/RBF to improve basic working conditions in the garment industry, an untested sector for GPOBA.

Working with IFC: Building on the 2014 irrigation scoping study recommendations to implement OBA in irrigation through the private sector, GPOBA worked with IFC to explore potential for a joint project in the irrigation sector. IFC had previously conducted a study on irrigation for smallholders in Burkina Faso, Zambia and India, and IFC and GPOBA teams scoped possibilities for a project that could benefit from both an OBA subsidy and IFC advisory services. GPOBA also worked to identify a pipeline of PPP projects in which OBA could be applied.

Knowledge Management

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GPOBA’s knowledge management activities support the close relationship between operations and knowledge. The team works to capture and facilitate knowledge flows, develop new knowledge tools, and disseminate knowledge products in order to reach interested practitioners and the wider development community.

Current publications draw on experience gained from GPOBA’s portfolio of projects, presenting information that informs future investments and operations. The OBApproaches series discusses OBA design and implementation, either through individual projects or through a thematic focus. In FY15, GPOBA produced five OBApproaches:

The Lessons Learned series is based on findings following project completion. Five issues were produced in FY15:

The Mumbai note, which explained the challenges faced in implementing the electricity project, won the GPSURR award for Best Documentation of Failure. GPOBA also contributed to the World Bank report, Surge in Solar-Powered Homes: Experience in Off-grid Rural Bangladesh, which detailed on the positive effects SHSs have had on health outcomes, study hours, and security.

Other knowledge management work in FY15 included the Universe of RBF study, which developed a baseline of information on RBF actors, rends, and instruments. As well as expanding GPOBA’s knowledge of RBF, the study generated opportunities for GPOBA to collaborate with and learn from other RBF practitioners. GPOBA and the World Bank published a global study, Results-Based Financing for Municipal Solid Waste. The study analyzed projects in eight countries that applied RBF approaches in the solid waste management sector, including two GPOBA- funded pilots in the West Bank and Nepal. The ‘Options Paper for Water Sector Regulation’ in the Philippines was also produced. This paper resulted from TA provided to the Government of the Philippines (GoP) in the water sector under the Unified Financing Framework. It considered models of regulation in the sector and made recommendations to the GoP on which forms of regulation would be appropriate in the Philippine context and including OBA subsidies to connect poor households.

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Ongoing knowledge work also includes activities related to GPOBA’s Community of Practice (CoP). Fostering the larger OBA/RBF community is an important component of GPOBA’s mission and vision, and the CoP provides a space for OBA/RBF practitioners to share best practices through peer learning, knowledge exchange, cross-sectoral collaboration, and networking. GPOBA expanded its CoP activities by moving to an online space on the World Bank’s Collaboration for Development (C4D) platform in order to increase external participation among development practitioners, with the result that 44 percent of CoP members are now external to the World Bank.

Webinars are another important GPOBA knowledge activity. Webinars bring together experts, strategic partners, and thought leaders inOBA/RBF,fordialogueandknowledge-sharing. They enable the in-depth exchange of experience and ideas, and are living knowledge tools retained for continued reference. Four webinars were held in FY15, focusing on the water, irrigation, energy, climate change, and solid waste sectors.

An initiative led by the World Bank Group, the Development Challenges/Solutions Approaches (DCSA), links knowledge and operations through the DCSA solutions platform, providing clients and decision-makers with interactive, timely project approaches and potential solutions. GPOBA contributed a DCSA, ‘How can countries incentivize public and private providers to extend basic services to the urban and rural poor?’ drawing on lessons from Uganda health, Morocco water and sanitation, and Kenya community water projects.

Knowledge and Learning

GPOBA’s knowledge and learning (K&L) program continues to expand through a range of online and face-to face-training activities, building awareness about the use of OBA/RBF approaches and supporting practitioners. Since its inception, the K&L program has helped GPOBA to reach a total of 3,913 people through 116 training and awareness-building activities. Participants have included development professionals from the World Bank Group, donors, government representatives, and local service providers. In FY15, GPOBA delivered 11 new training activities, reaching 603 people. The activities took place both internationally and within the World Bank, in partnership with WSP, ESMAP, and the World Bank Group’s Urban team. OBA trainings transitioned from the original two-day workshops to more targeted project concept clinics and other innovative session styles, in line with current knowledge management practices and approaches.

GPOBA held seven in-country workshops for the World Bank Group, development partners, government officials, and clients in field offices. The focus of the workshops included building the technical capacity of independent verifiers in Indonesia; the application of OBA in the energy sector in Mali and Thailand; leveraging climate change related finance through RBF initiatives in Ethiopia; and training in Poland for governments on developing project concepts for OBA/RBF for increasing access to basic services for marginalized communities. In Kenya, a utilities reform workshop discussed challenges that water utility managers face in delivering sustainable water supply and sanitation services, and in Bangladesh, a workshop for the main actors in the garment industry explored how RBF/OBA can help address issues of gender-based violence and improved working conditions in the garment sector.

GPOBA took part in World Water Week in Stockholm, hosting a session highlighting OBA as an innovative financing solution for water and energy access. At the World Bank’s Water Week, GPOBA delivered two joint presentations with WSP. Trainings were also delivered on Reaching the Urban Poor during the World Bank Group’s GPSURR forum, with sessions in Washington and Istanbul.

The knowledge and learning program held four trainings in Washington, DC targeting World Bank Group team leaders and other development partners. These included two energy clinics for MCC staff on OBA for electricity access, as part of ongoing efforts to support MCC in mainstreaming results-based approaches in their operations. GPOBA held a water and sanitation clinic in April 2015 for World Bank Group teams to strengthen understanding of OBA’s core concepts and to assist practitioners in designing their own OBA projects. As a result of this clinic, GPOBA is currently pursuing three potential new projects in water and sanitation.

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Communications

GPOBA’s ongoing communications strategy aims to position OBA in the context of RBF and the results agendas of development partners, as well as in the broader international discussion on aid effectiveness and innovative finance. In FY15, the communications team built on its multi-faceted dissemination and outreach program, and focused on improving GPOBA’s visibility and profile within the World Bank Group and externally, highlighting GPOBA’s relevance during the World Bank’s organizational restructuring. In response to the new structure, the team realigned its communications efforts in order to reach target audiences, with particular focus on outreach to the newly created global practices (GPs) within the World Bank. Comprehensive briefings were delivered to GP senior management, and a web package was developed for the launch of GPOBA/World Bank publication of Results-Based Financing for Municipal Solid Waste. A presentation explaining GPOBA to its new global practice led to a new knowledge product – whyOBA? – on the World Bank’s knowledge-sharing platform.

The communications team also promoted OBA in other key venues, including the annual Africa Energy Yearbook; a session on Reaching the Urban Poor at the GPSURR Forum; the World Bank’s Solutions Café, which looked at projects supporting sustainable energy access for the poor; and the second annual Inn-OBA-tions Awards, which recognized projects from FY15 that best exemplified successful and innovative implementation of OBA. (See Appendix E). GPOBA produced two videos this year – explaining the benefits of OBA/RBF compared to traditional development financing and improvements to lives in Honduras via water and sanitation, which includes interviews with local residents benefitting from this OBA project.

GPOBA’s web presence grew during the year. Improvements to its website and newsletter resulted in an 11 percent increase in unique website visitors, while average newsletter readership increased by 40 percent. GPOBA also improved communication with donors by introducing bimonthly donor updates.