Helping People, Improving Lives – The AusAID -World Bank Group Partnership

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Making a difference for people, helping them improve their lives, is the work of many. I have just come back from my first visit to Solomon Islands. Arriving in Honiara last week, I drove on a newly maintained road, I saw the clean streets and landscaped public gardens, and I heard about how the road works, street cleaning, and landscaping created jobs for people. These are results of the Rapid Employment Project, which provided training and on-the-job work experience to thousands of vulnerable and unemployed Solomon Islanders. The project has made a tremendous difference in people’s lives, generating income, experience and hope.

The Solomon Island’s Rapid Employment Project is a great example of how AusAID and the World Bank Group work together with countries across the Pacific, and indeed across the globe, to help improve people’s lives. And it is just one of many. Together, AusAID and the World Bank Group have worked together to provide people with a stable income; jobs; food on the table; better children’s education; more and better health services for children, mothers, and families; safe drinking water; roads, public transport and much more. We have helped create opportunities for people, better lives for people. 

Better opportunities and better lives for whom? AusAID and the World Bank, we believe it’s about opportunities and improving lives for all: for men and for women; for the young and the old; for those living in cities and in rural areas; and especially for the poor and vulnerable. I would like to highlight gender and poverty. Both AusAID and the World Bank Group consider equal opportunities for women and men a priority goal for countries in the Pacific and around the world. We both support activities promoting gender equality. And we both focus on helping countries eradicate poverty and boosting prosperity.

So what have countries in the Pacific and across Asia, AusAID, and the World Bank Group achieved together? How have we helped to bring about real change in people’s lives? Examples abound:

  • More than two million people in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific have gained access to mobile telephones in the past five years.
  • Over 200 community projects, including schools, health clinics, solar power systems, bridges and water supply systems, have been developed in Solomon Islands in the past five years.
  • An additional 5 million Indonesians have benefitted from improved access to running water and sanitation that has been put in place since 2008.
  • More than a million families in the Philippines have benefited from improved infrastructure, such as schools and water supplies, developed since 2006.
  • School enrolments in Afghanistan have increased massively from around one million to more than eight million, including more than three million girls.
  • More than 130,000 Afghani women have been able to receive antenatal care, ensuring safer births.

AusAID and we in the World Bank Group work together every day to help make a difference for children, for women and men, and families. Serving as the Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific until the end of this year, working with AusAID and all our development partners, I look forward to supporting the countries and people of the region together in every way we can. I look forward to seeing more results from this strong partnership, be it more and better rural infrastructure in the Solomon Islands, roads in Papua New Guinea, or other improvements in people’s lives elsewhere.

The road to development is a long and challenging one. The direction is clear. We’re all in it together to reduce poverty and improve peoples’ lives. We will build on the many good results that we have achieved together so far. Let’s keep going. Together, I am confident - we will get there.

To see more, please see this report and video.


Ulrich Zachau

Director of the World Bank for Colombia and Venezuela.

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