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Development that Works
  • About

    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Democratizing public transportation



    By Sergio Deambrosi*

    Despite the great benefits brought by the mass transportation system, MIO, in Cali, Colombia, a lack of public interest remains a challenge for the system.

    COLOMBIA - Users prepare to board the recently inaugurated MetroCali. Photo: David Alejandro Rendón-Wikicommons.

    COLOMBIA – Users prepare to board the recently inaugurated MetroCali. Photo: David Alejandro Rendón-Wikicommons.

    Just three years ago Cali, Colombia’s third city by population, had chaotic traffic. Streets and avenues were congested most of the day due to the proliferation of collective buses. These vehicles were causing high travel times, lots of accidents and high pollution.

    In 2006 the IDB granted to the city, through the national Government of Colombia, a US $ 200 million loan to implement an urban mobility improvement project. Its goal was to organize a modern, efficient and reliable public transport system that would connect the low and middle income population areas with employment and social services areas.

    The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a mass rapid transit system which consists of preferential and segregated lanes exclusively for modern, high and medium capacity buses and feeders. The operator is MetroCali, a municipal company. The BRT started operating partially in 2009, when some of the corridors and stations for the new articulated buses were still under construction. Read more…

    The Macho River: Source of Life, Electricity and Employment



    By Carlos Echevarría*

    Modernization of the Macho River hydroelectric plant in Costa Rica has created more than 300 direct jobs and will supply electricity to more than 228,000 homes.

    Macho River hydroelectric plant in Costa Rica. Photo: Project files.

    COSTA RICA – Macho River hydroelectric plant. Photo: Project files.

    Springing from the virgin forests of Cerro de la Muerte (Death Peak) in Costa Rica, crystal clear waters form a powerful outflow that creates the Macho River and are a source of energy for the residents of the Orosi River Valley, a region lush with vegetation and abundant wildlife on the Atlantic slope of the country.

    As a child growing up in the región, Efraín Arce Segura often played along the banks of the Macho River trapping shrimp. In 1959, Efraín witnessed the commotion set off in his community by the construction of a hydroelectric plant. Like him, many of the inhabitants wondered how the river could generate light.

    Despite Efraín’s bewilderment, the Macho River electric power production center forged ahead and built the plant, and for the last 50 years has supplied clean energy to Costa Rica. Read more…

    How far away is your water?



    By Jorge Oyamada* 

    More than 10,000 households in rural areas of Paraguay enjoy a safe drinking water system thanks to funding from the IDB and FECASALC.


    Access to drinking water in rural Paraguay remains a challenge.

    PARAGUAY – Access to drinking water in rural Paraguay remains a challenge.

    Paraguay’s Virgen del Rosario Community houses 111 families and until a little over a year ago it had no potable water, forcing villagers to walk long distances to fetch water every day.

    “I used to carry water with my family for 800 meters,” recalls Eleucadio Benítez. “We would fill up bottles and other containers and carry them on a wheelbarrow, or on a bicycle.” Eleucadio and many other members of this small rural community located 200 km northeast of Asunción carried water on a daily basis for 16 years.

    Through the Potable Water and Sanitation for Rural and Native Communities Program, funded by an Inter-American Development Bank loan and a generous grant from the Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FECASALC, after its Spanish initials), Paraguay’s National Service for Environmental Sanitation (SENASA) has built a drinking water system and promoted the creation of the Virgen del Rosario Sanitation Board, which manages the community’s drinking water service. Read more…

    A Bet That Pays Off: the Agricultural Market of Montevideo



    By Verónica Adler and Ana Castillo*

    The Municipal Government bet on renovating the iconic Agricultural Market in the Goes neighborhood, and in the first trimester of 2014 the restored landmark generated 550 jobs and had a turnover of $US8.8 million.

    Restored facade of Montevideo's Agricultural Market. Photo: Wiki commons . Shirley Olivera .

    URUGUAY – Restored facade of Montevideo’s Agricultural Market. Photo: Wiki commons . Shirley Olivera .

    The good old days

    Carmen and Carlos are a married couple in Montevideo, who have been residents of the Goes neighborhood for more than four decades. It was in Goes that they met at a neighborhood club, then married and raised their two children Juan and Silvia, who today are university graduates and professionals like many children of the middle class.

    Goes was founded in 1866 and is one of the most emblematic areas of the city, with a wide variety of services, institutions and facilities. The historic convergence of immigrants of diverse origins has given it a rich cultural heritage.

    Goes has a unique flavor. The historic neighborhood brings together residential housing, as well as basic industries and shops employing more than 2600 people. In 1886, a large fruit and vegetable market was built in Goes and called the Agricultural Market of Montevideo. It was an exemplary building, a donation from the Belgian government, which for decades injected money into the neighborhood and into Montevideo as a whole. Read more…

    Agricultural Corridor: More than just a highway



    By Daniel Torres-Gracia*

    The paving of the Tegucigalpa-Puerto Castilla Agricultural Corridor in Honduras has become a focus of economic and social development benefiting more than 500,000 of the region’s residents.

    Agricola Corridor: Stretch connecting San Esteban and El Carbon.

    HONDURAS – Agricultural Corridor: Stretch connecting San Esteban and El Carbon.

    The Tegucigalpa-Puerto Castilla Agricultural Corridor, in Honduras, came about as a means of improving the lives of 500,000 people. Standing testament to this are a breadwinning mother, and a mayor from the indigenous Pech community. Even the emerald hummingbird, a bird in danger of extinction, has been protected by this project. Read more…

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