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Grievance Redress Mechanisms

Listening to the People: 5 Simple Ways to Improve Project Performance through Citizen Feedback

Amar Inamdar's picture

There’s been a lot of talk about beneficiary feedback – a fancy term for asking people impacted by aid projects what they think. But we've been playing catch up when it comes to analyzing where and how we’re using these techniques – and whether they’re working. Until now.

A new World Bank paper looks at one particular tool for collecting real-time feedback – Grievance Redress Mechanisms – and starts to answer these basic questions: Where are they? Do they work? How will they help? For the first time, we now have data available on the distribution, quality and impact of grievance redress mechanisms (GRMs) in the Bank's portfolio.  Beyond just the quantitative data, there are 23 in-depth case studies of GRMs in operations - highlighting both disputes resolved and challenges faced. Focusing on what works and why, this report provides World Bank staff and clients with concrete data to support their work to improve GRM implementation and results.

For example, did you know...

  • Half of all World Bank-supported projects now include a GRM in project design?
  • GRM usage is still predominantly tied to triggering one or both of the World Bank safeguards policies that require a GRM?
  • The World Bank’s Africa region has the most higher-risk projects and the Middle East/North Africa region (MENA) has the fewest, but 70 percent of Africa's higher-risk projects have a GRM compared with only 22 percent in MENA?
  • GRMs exist on paper but not always in practice: less than one-third of the Bank-supported projects sampled could provide data on grievances received or resolved.

The report makes five simple recommendations for things that the World Bank can do better:

Grievance Redress Mechanisms – Do they work?

Shamiela Mir's picture

Among many tools that enable gathering of project beneficiaries’ concerns and solving them are Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs). Although the mechanisms themselves are not new, World Bank teams are increasingly encouraged to systematically include GRMs in their projects to increase beneficiaries’ participation, solve project-related disputes and ensure that projects achieve their intended results. As such, GRMs have been a topic of debate among World Bank staff.  GRMs are also called dispute resolution and conflict management/resolution mechanisms and they are considered to be one of several social accountability mechanisms. The topic is, therefore, not only timely at the World Bank but should also be of interest to development practitioners generally.