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World Bank, China join hands to fight poverty

China Daily

The World Bank yesterday launched the China Development Marketplace (DM), a programme to identify and support innovative development ideas which can be expanded or replicated in China.

The project is in partnership with the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Reduction and Development (LGOP) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Country-level Development Marketplaces (CDMs) are "mini marketplaces" for innovative ideas that address local development challenges.

They consist of a competitive process that awards small grants to social innovators, and a knowledge forum to share ideas and provide networking opportunities.

The China DM, which is scheduled to take place on December 7 and 8 this year, will be the first country-level competition among Chinese organizations.

It has chosen as its theme "Supporting Innovations for Scaling-Up Services that Reach the Poor", reflecting the joint efforts of the World Bank and the Chinese Government to work with civil society organizations (CSOs) to fight poverty.

Chinese CSOs will be invited to submit their project concepts during June and July.

An independent team of assessors will select 100 finalists, who will be invited to Beijing for a public exhibition of their projects on December 7 and 8 this year.

Fifty winning projects will be selected to receive funding of up to US$30,000.

Through making these small grants, the China DM is expected to support innovative projects that will help scale-up services for vulnerable groups, such as women and children, the disabled, and ethnic minorities, in areas such as education and health, environmental protection, and resource management.

It is also expected that the China DM will address topics including urban poverty, unemployment and migrant workers, the use of science and technology for poverty reduction, and rural integrated community poverty alleviation.

The World Bank has committed US$250,000 for the China DM and expects to raise additional resources from donors, the business sector and individuals who have an interest in supporting CSOs for their innovative poverty fighting projects, said David Dollar, World Bank Country Director for China.

Similar programmes in other countries raised up to US$1 million, and Dollar hopes the programme in China can set a new record in fund raising.

Since 1998, the World Bank's global Development Marketplace programme has awarded nearly US$40 million to more than 1,000 ground-breaking projects in over 70 countries.

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