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Submitted by John Garrison on
Shanta, Good idea on posting Barbara's letter and your response, as this not only acknowledges Oxfam's position on this but welcomes a wider debate on the topic. My own view on this is that one of the characteristic of this type of global report is that it has many audiences and is thus interpreted differently by each. In this light, I can understand why Oxfam would feel that we are 'blaming the victim' by criticizing absentee public servants who they feel are generally poorly paid, work under less than adequate working conditions, and have may not have strong career incentives. The interesting counterpoint to this argument is that Bank studies demonstrate, as the previous blogger mentioned, that similar service providers who work for private sector or civil society (e.g. faith-based) schools or health clinics, perform at a higher level than public workers. I feel that the report is most useful to government audiences as it reflects the Bank's new emphasis on good governance, not only at the top schelons but a the base of government services. Many CSOs have felt that in the past, the Bank supported inefficient and unresponsive government programs, thus they should welcome the Bank's new emphasis on improving government services through initiatives such as this report, citizens score cards, participatory budgeting, and community expenditure oversight. John Garrison Global Civil Society Team World Bank