What did the DM2009 finalists think about the competition and how it might be improved? Here's a mini-interview with Andrew Reitz, who was a DM2009 finalist from Ecuador. Reitz is a rural enterprise specialist with Conservacion y Desarollo, whose project is a combination market/conservation approach to community agriculture that would help 100 indigenous and mestizo rural households in the Andes commercialize a native blueberry while reforesting the local ecosystem. Reitz describes his project in this YouTube clip from the Development Markektplace Channel.
Q. What most impressed you about your week at the competition?
A. I was most impressed that the World Bank took the opportunity to reach out to the participants with some of the curriculum from the World Bank Institute. These sessions touched base on some of the fundamentals to project management that, if applied correctly, will surely help participants achieve higher levels of success in future projects. I also particularly enjoyed the panel discussion of past DM winners.
Q. What would you like to see added to future competition programs to help ensure that all finalists have the richest possible experience from their week?
A. I don't believe finalists were given enough time to properly present their projects to the jurors. A half hour would have allowed for a proper question and answer period. In addition, finalists need to be better prepped on the types of questions that jurists will ask. The session on "selling your project/idea" was interesting; however, it would have been more beneficial if past jurors were involved.
Q. Should there be a bigger money pool so there can be more winners among the 100 finalists?
A. Absolutely. Or, it might be beneficial to dedicate a full day to bringing finalists and potential donors together for one-on-one interviews/sessions. Have the WB reach out to the development community and serve as a catalyst to bring projects and donors together. Like a career fair. The event shouldn't be so focused on competition and winners, but more on the ability of the World Bank to work as a catalyst to bring the development community together and capitalize on the investment that they made in screening over 1,7000 projects and selecting the 100 finalists. Why not make a concerted effort to try and fund all 100 projects?
Q. What about finalists connecting with their countries’ National Adaptation Programs of Action? Are there opportunities that aren’t fulfilled? How can DM help build connections between finalists and governments?
A. Unfortunately, the World Bank isn't necessarily seen as the shining bastion to development in a lot of countries. The regional WB offices could use this as a great opportunity to reach out to the local governments, look for opportunities to co-sponsor a project, and show them that they are truly interested in grassroots development and collaborating with local interests.