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World Bank Offers Money for Development Ideas

I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Development Report.

The World Bank is offering money for new ideas to improve life in developing nations. People could receive as much as two hundred thousand dollars for creative projects to ease the effects of poverty.

About every eighteen months, the World Bank holds a competition called the Development Marketplace. Finalists chosen in different countries gather in Washington, D.C. The competitors explain their ideas to groups that can provide financial and technical support. The winners chosen in Washington are given start-up money to carry out their plans within one year.

This year, the World Bank says the Development Marketplace has four million dollars to give away to entrepreneurs. They must find new, low-cost ways to bring water, waste control and energy to people who lack these services.

Anyone can compete in the Development Marketplace. Ideas must be designed to improve the lives of the poor. Also, other people must be able to copy the idea in other communities.

The World Bank says the competition looks for ideas that others may dismiss as too unusual or too small to consider seriously. Judges from the World Bank and other organizations choose the winners.

At the last Development Marketplace in two thousand three, researchers from Tanzania won money for training rats to identify tuberculosis. Another winner was a Vietnamese professor, Tran Triet. He proposed to teach farmers how to harvest grass from a wetland area without harming the environment.

Another winning proposal came from Zimbabwe. It involved the production of chili peppers in the Zambezi Valley as a way to protect farmers from invasions of their land by elephants.

Proposals must be received by twenty-three hours Universal Time on November thirtieth. The winners will be announced on May ninth, two thousand six.

The World Bank says all proposals must be made through the Development Marketplace Web site. Go to developmentmarketplace, all one word, dot o-r-g for the details. Information is provided in English as well as Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

We will have a link to the site with this report at

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. I'm Steve Ember.