Fifty finalists will compete for NDM

Kathmandu, May 31:

Fifty innovative ideas and inventive partnerships from across the country have made it to the final round of Nepal Development Marketplace (NDM)-2008, branded as ‘Lau Na Aba Ta Kehi Garau’ contest — a collaborative effort between the World Bank and the Nepal Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF).

All the fifty finalists will be invited to compete in a national competition scheduled for June 24. At least 25 winners are expected to receive grant awards of upto Rs 1.5 million each to test their ideas.

The technical assessors today selected the top 50 proposals for graduation to the national competition, states a press release. All the fifty finalists will be invited to submit detailed proposals in the lead up to the final competition. These proposals will require a more comprehensive description of their business or implementation plan with detailed budget.

“An independent jury of eminent persons will be formed to examine the detailed proposals received from the finalists and to publicly interview them at the national event before selecting the winners,” states the release.

The finalists range from grass-roots service providers, including public sector development agencies, community based organisations and NGO, to schools and universities, as well as private sector businesses. Their enterprising ideas and creative partnerships focus on improvements in the delivery of basic services in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation, agriculture, irrigation and food security, financial services, small business and micro enterprise support, energy, information and communication technologies, infrastructure, integrated rural development and employment creation.

NDM-2008 is an open, transparent competition to promote fresh thinking and harvest the most innovative ideas about peace and development, expansion of livelihood opportunities and delivery of basic services to the poor.

The cash awards will be provided to apply fresh approaches to peace-building through development for a period of one year beginning from July 1, states the release.

A nation-wide publicity campaign during March and April has attracted nearly 500 eligible entries reflecting the theme ‘Securing Peace Through Development’ by the time the call for proposals closed on April 30. Since then, a technical team composed of over forty development practitioners, sectoral experts and journalists screened and ranked all proposals against a set of assessment criteria and narrowed down the most promising proposals to a short-list of 215. The criteria included innovation, partnership, sustainability, replicability, impact and cost-effectiveness.

NDM was last held in 2005. Among the winners then were Mahabir Pun, who later went on to win the prestigious Ramon Magasaysay Award. Another winner was the Morang District Agriculture Office whose promotion of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is now being emulated in various parts of the world.