The World Bank’s Executive Board is likely to consider the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rural Investment and Institutional Support Project worth $300 million on Thursday, with the objectives to strengthen rural services delivery and local development in the province (including the newly-merged areas) in an inclusive, sustainable, and accountable manner.
The proposed project is aligned with the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS, FY15–20) and with the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. The project will improve the institutional capacity of communities and Village Councils (VCs) to oversee, monitor, and strengthen the provision of physical infrastructure and basic services to the rural population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
It will also promote community participation and citizen monitoring of these services against the agreed standards. These activities are expected to improve access to and quality of basic services, thereby improving social and human development outcomes in the vulnerable communities located in the rural parts of the province. The project will specifically contribute to the CPF Results Area of the CPS (Inclusion) and its sub-outcome (Reduced Vulnerability for Groups at Risk) in addition to the Results Area (Service Delivery).
It will provide access to basic infrastructure for local communities and promote the inclusion of women and the youth. Citizen engagement activities and local infrastructure investments support the World Bank’s scaled-up response to situations of crisis.
The project will focus on three key areas of support:
(a) Community infrastructure grants to address rural infrastructure gaps.
(b) Citizen monitoring of basic services delivery in key service sectors against agreed quality standards.
(c) Institutional development and community mobilization to promote local capacity and to strengthen the transparency, accountability, and capacity of line departments to partner with communities for local development.
It will cover the rural communities in 15 districts that have the largest service deficits according to the GoKP Planning and Development (P&D) Department, including eight districts in the settled areas of KP and seven districts in NMA.
The geographical focus is justified by the fact that rural communities in these districts have some of the worst human development outcomes, the lowest voice-to-demand services, and the least likelihood of being covered through mainstream service delivery mechanisms due to their size and remoteness. In addition, these areas have the lowest capacity or resources to address local needs. The project will fill these gaps through a combination of financing, technical support, and institutional strengthening. The geographic scope will be finalized during project preparation and may be extended in a phased approach.
Component 1: Community Grants for Infrastructure
This component will provide grants for local infrastructure schemes to address the local development priorities identified by rural communities. The project will finance the rehabilitation of damaged or inactive infrastructure, the construction of new infrastructure, and operation and maintenance (O&M). The grants will be determined based on simple and transparent criteria that will be developed during the preparation for the project.
Community members, while working through their elected VCs, will choose infrastructure schemes from a menu of the schemes supported by the project and will oversee and manage their implementation. The menu of the eligible schemes will be developed during project preparation, but based on previous experiences, it may include rural roads; water supply, sanitation, and hygiene; small-scale irrigation; solid waste management; rural electrification, including renewable energy (wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower); education and health facilities that fall under the village authority; community centers; street pavements, bridges, and related infrastructure; and complementary investments in education, health, and digital infrastructure.
Where possible, the project will promote inter-village planning to allow communities to take advantage of economies of scale. The project will also explore the potential for livelihoods grants, with a preference for public goods or activities that enhance agricultural productivity at the village level.
Component 2: Citizen Monitoring for Improved Basic Services Delivery
This component will promote citizen monitoring of basic services against the agreed standards by investing in the capacity of communities to demand accountability and in the capacity of providers to improve service quality. It will also finance capacity building and social accountability activities to enable communities to monitor service delivery while streamlining service quality standards to make line departments accountable to local needs.
The sectors of intervention and the specific service quality standards will be developed during project preparation in consultation with the line departments responsible for service delivery. The potential sectors to be included maybe health services provision, education and teacher performance, nutrition, and stunting prevention interventions, immunization programs, social assistance programs, and livelihood support programs.
The services and entitlements that are protected by law, such as the KP Local Government Act, the KP Education Act, and the KP Health Act, will be prioritized. The overall objective of this component will be to strengthen bottom-up accountability mechanisms on the demand side to complement sectoral spending on the supply side.
Component 3: Institutional Development and Community Mobilization
This component will facilitate community participation in the planning, implementation, and operations and maintenance (O&M) of community infrastructure schemes in the project areas. It will finance the development and implementation of a standard subproject implementation cycle that will be led by elected VCs, focusing on community mobilization and outreach to plan, implement, and manage infrastructure schemes in a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable manner.
Because the subproject implementation will be led by elected local councils, the project will strengthen and institutionalize the role of these local institutions to oversee and monitor the provision of physical infrastructure and basic services, as well as promote partnerships between communities and service providers by strengthening citizen feedback loops and demand-side accountability. This component will also strengthen the transparency, accountability, and capacity of line departments to partner with communities.
The project will finance institutional strengthening, technical capacity building, and streamlining of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to enable line departments to cooperate with local communities and VCs for the planning and implementation of infrastructure schemes. The main focus will be to standardize, simplify, and streamline the bureaucratic processes through which communities engage with the line departments. The specific areas of support and the technical content will be determined during the project preparation, after an institutional assessment of line departments and local councils.
Component 4: Project Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation
This component will finance the operational expenditures and selected capital expenditures incurred by the implementing agency for overall coordination, management, and supervision of project activities. It will finance the overall systems for the management of procurement, Environmental and Social Standards (ESS), Financial Management (FM), and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems, including project audits and technical studies.
It will also finance the project’s Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) and field offices in several locations that will be determined during project preparation. The specific roles, responsibilities, and implementation plans, for the activities under this component, will be developed during project preparation, when implementation arrangements will be determined based on assessments. Finally, the project will strengthen the capacity of the implementing agency to improve the efficiency and transparency of resource allocation, data collection, and supervision of local development activities.