This spring Willy Reuben left a Costa Rican NGO to join the World Bank as head of its NGO Unit. He said recently that NGOs used to be like the chorus in a Greek play but now have become leading actors, presenting independent and influential perspectives.
The Bank’s 60 civil society liaison staff have varied roles. Some are more public relations officers, others are NGO contractors, while only a few help enable civil society organisations achieve influence on Bank policies. These staff gathered in Washington in late May, and Reuben will soon commission a “needs assessment” of the Bank’s communications strategy for NGOs.
Meanwhile Bank staff are expending much energy on internal battles over what will happen to their teams and networks next year when the Strategic Compact reform subsidy winds down and the internal market takes over.