Grant funding is a critical element of GPOBA’s mission, serving as the catalyst for design and implementation of OBA projects. GPOBA grants provide operational support for subsidy projects, technical assistance (TA), and knowledge dissemination. Monitoring and evaluating project performance is a key part of the team’s work, with project completion reports, evaluations, and assessments all informing the design of future pilot projects and contributing to GPOBA’s development as a Center of Expertise on the use of OBA/RBF.
FY15 Results Achieved
FY15 was a strong year for GPOBA, with five new grant agreements signed for subsidy projects, eight TA activities initiated in support of OBA/RBF projects, and ten new knowledge dissemination activities. There was a focus on scaling up successful OBA projects and mainstreaming OBA approaches in cooperation with governments and other development partners. Highlights of the year include:
- As of June 2015, the GPOBA cumulative subsidy portfolio consists of 44 grant agreements in seven sectors, totaling $228 million. Three projects closed in FY15, bringing to 28 the number of closed projects in GPOBA’s subsidy portfolio from which valuable lessons are being drawn.
- GPOBA disbursed a total of $10 million in FY15 for subsidy projects, bringing cumulative disbursements since 2006 to $116.3 million.
- Five new grant agreements were signed1 for a total of $50 million, including three scale-ups of successful GPOBA pilots in Bangladesh, Kenya, and Uganda.
- Eight new TA activities were initiated, totaling $1.4 million.
- Ten new knowledge dissemination activities were undertaken for $1.7 million.
Details of GPOBA’s complete portfolio and disbursements to date can be found in the Appendices section.
This figure does not include a $4.9 million project signed at the close of 2014 for increasing access to grid electricity in Vanuatu. ↩
With the addition of five new grant agreements signed in FY15, GPOBA’s portfolio of subsidy projects grew to 44. The subsidy portfolio focuses on provision of basic services to the poor, with 82 percent of funding going to IDA countries and 8 percent to IDA blended countries.1 There are sixteen active projects under implementation, with a total of $106.5 million in commitments.
Access to energy and water are crucial in alleviating extreme poverty, and the energy sector currently receives the largest share of GPOBA subsidies, with 43 percent of the project portfolio. Water is the second largest sector in the portfolio, followed by health. Solid waste management is a growing sector for GPOBA. Geographically, sub- Saharan Africa has the largest share of funding, followed by South Asia.
GPOBA also has a significant cumulative portfolio of TA and knowledge activities, with 177 projects totaling $28 million. TA support for RBF activities is wide ranging and includes work with the World Bank’s Program for Results (PforR), which links disbursement of funds to governments to the achievement of specific program results. GPOBA has provided TA for five PforR operations: Ethiopia (urban), Tanzania (education), Brazil (multi-sectoral), Mexico (water and sanitation) and Uruguay (transport), the latter four projects were active in FY15. GPOBA’s RBF activities have indirectly benefitted approximately 3 million people. Both TA and knowledge activities are reported in more detail throughout this report.
The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Countries that lack the creditworthiness needed to borrow from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and those with per capita gross national income below $1,175 are eligible for IDA support. Countries that are IDA-eligible based on per capita income levels and are also creditworthy for some IBRD borrowings are referred to as ‘blend’ countries. ↩
GPOBA achieved a major milestone in FY15, reaching eight million people with access to basic infrastructure and services. Disbursements for subsidy projects in FY15 totaled $10 million, bringing cumulative disbursements to $116.3 million since the inception of the subsidy program in 2006. Three subsidy projects were completed in FY15–Solar PV Systems in Ghana, Bangladesh Solar Home Systems, and Extending Telecommunications in Rural Indonesia–raising the number of successfully completed subsidy projects to 28. Demonstration effects are not limited to closed projects and this is well illustrated by an ongoing project with the Kenya Power and Light Corporation GPOBA project that is successfully delivering safe, legal electricity connections to households in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
Each of the GPOBA subsidy projects completed in FY15 has contributed to the country’s experience in using results based approaches to solve critical national development issues and all are implementing additional projects using an OBA approach. These include projects with GPOBA and the World Bank for sanitation in Ghana and additional off grid clean energy and irrigation in Bangladesh; and, with other development partners for water in Indonesia. These follow-on projects illustrate the powerful demonstration effect of initial OBA subsidy projects for the delivery of basic services.
One of GPOBA’s priorities for the year was to provide operational support to existing subsidy projects that faced serious external challenges including an earthquake, the Ebola outbreak, localized political tensions, and significant fluctuations in local economic conditions. Many of these challenges arose in already fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS). These important project support efforts focused on working with teams to understand the short, medium and long term effects of these events and adapt as needed to adjust or resume services as quickly as possible. Seven projects facing impediments to implementation. The projects were located in Kenya, Liberia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and the West Bank. Operational support was wide- ranging, and included project adaptation, restructuring, capacity-building of municipalities and independent verification agents, and even reconstructing healthcare facilities in the Philippines that had been destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda the previous year.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of projects is a crucial part of GPOBA’s ongoing commitment to documenting the effectiveness of OBA. GPOBA regularly tracks the progress of each project toward intermediate outcomes and project objectives, integrating M&E findings into future project design, reporting and sharing best practices with other project teams, OBA practitioners, and development partners.
This year GPOBA produced a range of assessments that supported learning and knowledge-sharing and that reinforced strong coordination between operations and knowledge management. Two Semi-Annual Monitoring Reports analyzed the progress of subsidy projects, TA and dissemination activities. Four Implementation Completion Reports (ICRs) were produced – for the Nigeria Pre-paid Health Scheme, the Yemen Safe Motherhood Voucher projects, and OBA for Coverage Expansion in the water sectors in Mozambique and Cameroon. The GPOBA component of the larger IDA-funded Bangladesh Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Project was analyzed as part of the ICR undertaken by the World Bank Group. The ICRs, which are all published on GPOBA’s website, provide a detailed account of the performance and results of each operation in relation to project objectives, design and implementation. For subsidy projects under $5 million, Grant Reporting and Monitoring (GRM) reports are prepared. GPOBA finalized a GRM for the Indonesia telecommunications project, and also produced four project completion reports for water sector projects in Kenya, Uganda, and Indonesia.
A socio-economic impact assessment, which included a gender component, was prepared for the GPOBA Electrification Access project in Ethiopia. The study tracked how electricity provided by this project had changed living patterns in households by freeing up time in the evening for men and women, and also showed that electricity resulted in the number of boys and girls who study in the evening increasing by 15-20 percent.
As a component of GPOBA’s scoping study on education, a Beneficiary Assessment of the Vietnam education project was completed, drawing on qualitative data collected through interviews and focus group discussions, but also incorporating secondary data. The OBA project disbursed subsidies on achievement of pre-approved indicators related to student attendance and educational attainment. Results showed that beneficiaries were on the whole very positive in their assessment of the project, and that overall the project had met its goals of improving enrollment, attendance, and academic performance of poor students in upper-secondary education.