Making Services Work for Poor People

  • Devarajan S
  • Reinikka R
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Abstract

Too often, services fail poor people-in access, in quality, and in affordability. But the fact that there are striking examples where basic services such as water, sanitation, health, education, and electricity do work for poor people means that governments and citizens can do a better job of providing them. Learning from success and understanding the sources of failure, this year's World Development Report, argues that services can be improved by putting poor people at the center of service provision. How? By enabling the poor to monitor and discipline service providers, by amplifying their voice in policymaking, and by strengthening the incentives for providers to serve the poor. Freedom from illness and freedom from illiteracy are two of the most important ways poor people can escape from poverty. To achieve these goals, economic growth and financial resources are of course necessary, but they are not enough. The World Development Report provides a practical framework for making the services that contribute to human development work for poor people. With this framework, citizens, governments, and donors can take action and accelerate progress toward the common objective of poverty reduction, as specified in the Millennium Development Goals. Services can work for poor people but too often they fail -- Governments should make services work -- The framework for service provision -- Clients and providers -- Citizens and politicians -- Policymakers and providers -- Basic education services -- Health and nutrition services -- Drinking water, sanitation, and electricity -- Public sector underpinnings of service reform -- Donors and service reform.

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