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    The project builds on the existing PNPM Mandiri platform and the Rural Infrastructure Support Project program that ended in 2008. RIS–PNPM I was approved in 2008 and has a total budget of US$62.5 million, comprising a US$50 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), US$6.7 million from the GoI, and an estimated US$5.8 million from community contributions. RIS–PNPM II was approved in November 2009, and has a total project cost of US$113.5 million, including a US$84.2 million loan from the ADB, US$21.8 million from government counterparts and US$7.5 million in community contributions.

    The overarching objective of RIS–PNPM is to reduce poverty and improve local governance in rural communities by improving access to services for the poor, near poor, and women. To support this objective RIS–PNPM aims to: (a) strengthen capacity for community planning and development, which includes supporting and strengthening community participation, empowerment and the capacity to prioritize, design, implement, manage and monitor community–based projects; (b) improve village services and infrastructure through community development grants. Block grants are provided to villages to support investments in priority physical, social and economic infrastructure areas to meet the local needs that were identified in the village’s medium–term poverty reduction plans.

    Consistent with the PNPM guidelines, the menu of investment opportunities for communities is open, except for a short list of activities prohibited by the GoI or ADB policies. The selection of community investments is based on the guidelines prepared for RIS–PNPM. Block grants are transferred directly to community bank accounts specifically opened for the project and managed by the community implementation organizations; and (c) improve capacity for project implementation and monitoring and evaluation, which supports project management and implementation support at national, provincial, and kabupaten levels, including monitoring and evaluation.

    2010 Progress: RIS–PNPM I has been progressing well. All 1,724 villages have completed their works. It is expected that the project completion report will be submitted by DGHS by June 30, 2011. Civil works under RIS–PNPM II started in late 2010, in 1,474 project villages. Based on observations during field visits and findings from monitoring reports, implementation of civil works is progressing well with good quality standards. Community implementation organizations have been established in all 1,500 project villages.

    In May 2010, DGHS engaged 1,082 community facilitators (CFs) to continue supporting communities in project villages under RIS–PNPM II. 705 well–performing CFs were retained from RIS–PNPM. The selection was based on a comprehensive performance evaluation carried out by the EA in close consultation with provincial project implementation unit (PPIUs) and kabupaten project implementation units (DPIUs). Based on lessons learned from RIS–PNPM I, the CF teams were rearranged so that, on average, a team of two CFs (one to support community empowerment, financial management and reporting and one to provide assistance on technical matters) assists a cluster of three villages.

    Prior to their assignments in project villages, all CFs received five–day pre–service training to improve their skills in (a) inclusive community mobilization, (b) preparing technical designs, (c) supervising the implementation of civil works, and (d) the formulation of operation and maintenance plans for infrastructure built and financed under the project. DPIUs are now more involved in monitoring and guiding CF teams. Regular meetings with CFs and kabupaten consultant teams take place at DPIU offices to discuss work plans and review progress in the respective kabupaten. DPIUs review and endorse monthly CF reports; payments from PPIUs to CFs are only released after the DPIU’s endorsement. In general, DPIUs, PPIUs and community members have expressed their satisfaction with CF teams working in the respective project villages.

    2011 Plans and Activities: RIS–PNPM I will conclude on June 30, 2011. RIS–PNPM II, now in its second year, will continue in 2011 to provide block grants in 1,500 villages, with expected disbursement of Rp375 billion.