Project Management Institute

Project methods speed global development

BY DEBREWORK ZEWDIE

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Debrework Zewdie, an Ethiopian national and former medical scientist, is World Bank's first global HIV/AIDS adviser. The World Bank, one of the world's largest sources of development assistance, has been working to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in young people. As one of eight co-sponsors of the joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Bank is helping to shape the global response to the epidemic.

The World Bank, which lent $17.3 billion last year for projects in developing countries, promotes project management techniques to speed the implementation of development projects and programs. These techniques have been important in managing our work across sectors and countries in all regions of the world. World Bank lending activities are structured around a project cycle (http://www.world-bank.org/infoshop/projectcycle.htm). Each step, including reviews of country assistance strategy, project identification, preparation, appraisal supervision and evaluation, benefits from detailed work scheduling and planning.

We see at least two benefits to the use of project management techniques. First, these techniques clearly help us identify and assess the feasibility of particular activities and programs by helping staff, as well as the World Bank's borrower clients, to establish priorities and appropriate phasing of Bank inputs. Second, we have found that the Bank's use of good project management practice has had positive spin-offs on developing country skills and administrative capacities.

Of course, our work methods and approaches to project management must be flexible and adapted to particular country and sector circumstances. We have found it important to adapt the methods used to manage the design and construction of major projects in the so-called “hard” sectors, such as transport and energy, to the needs and characteristics of programs in the social sectors, such as health, education and, most recently, multisector investments to fight the AIDS pandemic.

Our experience is that buy-in and ownership of a project by stakeholders is key to development success. Adapting project and program development approaches to emphasize learning and just-in-time adaptation also has been integral to our work to scale up interventions to address the crisis.

Helping African countries mitigate the impact of AIDS will be pivotal to development prospects over the next 20 years and forms the cornerstone of the Bank's strategy in the region. In June 2001, the Bank approved a $155 million five-year loan program for the region that allows individual countries to obtain separate loans or credits (from the International Development Association) to finance their national HIV/AIDS prevention and control projects. In February, The World Bank approved an additional $500 million for the second stage of its Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program for Africa (MAP), bringing the amount of its no-interest HIV/AIDS lending to Africa through this program to $1 billion in the course of the current financial year.

Good project management principles and practices help the Bank's clients to structure and establish priorities among the many possible interventions that can be employed in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and are also important to communicating national strategy among a wide range of stakeholders. We work closely with other development partners, including UNAIDS, nongovernmental organizations and many, many others. We can help assure synergy across the efforts of many players with a well-planned national action program.

We seek to transfer skills in many of these tools to national AIDS coordination bodies. They can then stimulate and monitor the activities of a wide range of sources of possible contribution to the fight against AIDS. Theses range from small community-based groups hoping to find ways to cope with the horrific growth in the number of orphans across Africa, to large private sector firms who seek ways to protect their labor force from the ravages of the disease and its consequences.

This second stage, or MAP 2, will dramatically increase access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support programs in more than a dozen Sub-Saharan African countries, and for the first time will also support sub-regional and cross-border HIV/AIDS initiatives such as HIV/AIDS prevention activities along transport routes to the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, which passes through Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.

Twelve countries have projects approved under MAP 1, with more than $462 million committed. In the second stage of the MAP program, the World Bank will offer another installment of $500 million, which will likely support projects in another 12 to 15 countries, depending on the size of the individual projects

Figure 1. Twelve countries have projects approved under MAP 1, with more than $462 million committed. In the second stage of the MAP program, the World Bank will offer another installment of $500 million, which will likely support projects in another 12 to 15 countries, depending on the size of the individual projects.

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Our experience is that development planners, whether in the Bank or in our client countries, typically face a wide range of choices and opportunities as they draw up plans to address priority issues. Every development policy and programmatic area requires action from a range of players, not least the expected consumers of the service. We expect that project management skills and techniques can facilitate prioritization and phasing of the many kinds of prevention and treatment interventions that need to be put in place, as well as assist in identifying which parts of society are best able to do what.

As in any large-scale policy or program agenda, it is impossible to reach a target if you can't describe it. By using project management techniques in close collaboration with national AIDS authorities and with the participation from all major actors in the public and private sectors, from civil society and from the many families and individuals either infected or affected by this awful disease, we hope to stimulate and ensure adequate resources for rapid scale-up of action against the disease.

We anticipate that basic project management tools will be a key element in the way the Bank does its work far into the future, and we are working hard to find ways to ensure that the methods are suited to broad and effective participation in the design and monitoring of effective action against HIV/AIDS. PM

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

All monetary figures are in U.S. dollars. • Send comments on this column to editorial@pmi.org.

PM NETWORK | SEPTEMBER 2002 | www.pmi.org
SEPTEMBER 2002 | PM NETWORK

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