World Bank and citizen engagement

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“Too often, services fail poor people – in access, in quantity, in quality. But the fact that there are strong examples where services do work means governments and citizens can do better. How? By putting poor people at the center of service provision: by enabling them to monitor and discipline service providers, by amplifying their voice in policy making, and by strengthening the incentives for providers to serve the poor ”, World Bank 2004.

The concept of Citizen Engagement began to emerge in World Bank in 2013
as part of its carrying, engaging citizens and beneficiaries through integrating their voice, concern, and other issues in development programmes as a key accelerator to achieve results. Also, community engagement, Citizen Engagement is central to the success of any project, which through its grievances redress mechanism, environmental and social safeguard issues are being addressed.

Considering the criticality of Citizen Engagement, the bank recently launched ‘Nigeria Community of Practice on Citizen Engagement and Virtual Knowledge Exchange on Citizen Engagement for Projects Implementation Units in West Africa and Eastern Europe and Central Asia’ in Abuja.

The workshop looks at the strategic framework for citizen engagement at
the World Bank, stakeholder engagement under World Bank environmental
and social framework, and snapshot of citizen engagement results in
investment project financing.

Also experience of Iceland, Kygyz
Republic, Sierra Leone, Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine and Nigeria in online
digital engagement, community support project, resilient urban mobility
project, modernization of government services project, energy efficiency
in public building project, serving people, improving health project and
emergency COVID-19 response and vaccination project, Nigeria national
social safety net program & scale up, and multi-sectoral crisis recovery
project for north eastern Nigeria respectively, were all shared for
wider understanding of the centrality of CE in all the project being
undertaken by World Bank in different part of the globe, which simply
means ‘peoples first’.

It is pertinent to state that, Community Engagement, under the right
conditions, can help government, non-governmental organisations achieved
any development results, therefore, social, political, religious, economic, environmental, cultural, geographic, gender dynamics should be put into considerations while engaging citizens in any setting as these shape the opportunities and scope for effective Citizen Engagement.

Sani Garba Mohammed,
Zaria Road, Kano
[email protected]