Policy Factsheet

Community-Driven Development

Reasons for Policy

  • Community-driven development (CDD) is an important form of development assistance that gives community groups control of decisions and resources over assistance. 1
  • CDD may empower low-income people, enhance sustainability, improve efficiency and effectiveness, make development more inclusive, build social capital, and strengthen governance. 2
  • The World Bank has lent approximately $7 billion dollars for such projects. 1

Community Groups

  • Community-based Organizations
  • Local Government
  • State Government

Policy Components

  • Active involvement of members of a defined community in aspects of project design and implementation.
  • Community has direct control over key project decisions, including management of investment funds.
  • Community is a beneficiary in the design and management of a development project.

Desired Outcomes

  • Improve project quality and performance.
  • Improve the targeting of poverty programs.
  • Better designed projects and targeted benefits.
  • Improve project sustainability.

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 3: Insufficient Evidence Available.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

  • Further research is needed to evaluate the effects of community–driven development on the desired outcomes.1
  • Because many such projects lack careful evaluations with good treatment and control groups, and with baseline and follow-up data, little is known about the impact of community-based projects.1
  • Evidence suggests project targeting is not always effective, especially for development projects targeting low-income individuals within communities.1
  • There is some evidence that community-based development projects create effective community infrastructure and improve welfare outcomes, but the evidence does not support that it is the actual participatory elements that are responsible for improved project outcomes.1
  • Community-based development seems likely to be more effective in more cohesive and better managed communities.1
  • The sustainability of community-based initiatives depends on an enabling institutional environment.1
  • Because the success of community-based development is conditioned by local cultural and social systems, projects are best done with careful learning by doing.1
  • More research is needed.


1 Mansuri, G, Vijayendra, R (2004). Community-Based and –Driven Development: A Critical Review. The World Bank Observer, 19(1), 1-39.

2 Doniger, P, et al. (2001). Community Driven Development. In World Bank, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Sourcebook, Vol. 1.

3 Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.