BBL | Financing Social Accountability Through Private Investors: Exploring Impact Bonds

December 16, 2015
Room J7-044
The Global Partnership for Social Accountability with Social Finance UK and the Governance Global Practice of the World Bank
invite you to a Brown Bag Lunch:



Wednesday, December 16, 2015
12:30 –2:00pm
Room J7-044
701 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
A light lunch will be served. 

Peter Nicholas
Social Finance UK

Andrew Schrank
Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs
Brown University

Maria Poli
Capacity-Building Coordinator
Global Partnership for Social Accountability, World Bank

Andres Falconer

Head of Partnerships
Global Partnership for Social Accountability, World Bank

Today’s shifting development finance landscape is having an impact on organizations around the world, large and small. Many are faced with the challenge of maximizing limited available funds while aiming to achieve financial sustainability that allows them to deliver better, longer-term services and have lasting impact on society. In the non-profit sector, this is increasingly the case for social accountability organizations. These organizations play a crucial role in ensuring that public services are implemented effectively and that citizens have an effective voice in government processes.  Recognizing the need for innovative financing solutions to sustain social accountability projects in the long term in a field where most initiatives are predominantly grant-funded by a small number of donors, the GPSA is interested in exploring strategies towards securing new forms of capital.

Meanwhile, a revolution in social-purpose financing is taking place, and the non-profit, social enterprise and development communities are witnessing the growth of new modes of investing and borrowing that are becoming available. Among the newly developed instruments are “Social (or development) Impact Bonds”. Impact Bonds are a form of Output-Based Aid, but with up-front private capital and a less input-driven approach to implementation.  They are currently being pioneered in areas such as health and youth training. The potential to use them in social accountability remains to be investigated.

This BBL will discuss the feasibility and the potential role of “Impact Bonds” in improving the effectiveness of social accountability projects.  After unpacking how Impact Bonds work and how they can be set up, the BBL will raise discussion on whether Impact Bonds would in fact be feasible and beneficial for social accountability projects. The discussion will focus specifically on the question whether social accountability outcomes and attribution can be defined in a way that would make Impact Bonds possible. Secondly, it will ask whether Impact Bonds would actually be able to contribute to making project implementation more flexible and adaptive. 

This event is part of the GPSA Brown Bag Lunch series.
More information at:


Peter Nicholas is a Director at Social Finance UK, where he focuses on developing Impact Bonds in Africa and the Middle East.  Recent Impact Bond initiatives he has worked on include for HIV prevention in South Africa under Global Fund finance, and for youth training in the West Bank and Gaza as part of the World Bank’s proposed Finance for Jobs grant.  Prior to Social Finance Peter worked for the World Bank in a range of positions, including most recently Operations Manager in Harare.  He has also worked in other countries in Southern Africa, and in South Asia and the Caucasus.  He is a Trustee of BRAC UK.  Peter holds an M.Phil. in Economics and a D.Phil. in Philosophy from Oxford University..

Andrew Schrank is Olive C. Watson Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 2000. He has previously held positions in political science and sociology at the University of New Mexico, Yale University, and the University of Miami. He has received grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, National Science Foundation, and Social Science Research Council; served as a consulting editor or board member at the American Journal of Sociology, Politics and Society, and Latin American Politics and Society; and consulted for the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, United States Department of Labor, and various United Nations agencies.   

Maria Poli currently serves as GPSA's Capacity-Building Coordinator, from where she leads the delivery of implementation support to GPSA grantees and government counterparts. She has also coordinated the technical review and selection process for the GPSA's three Global Calls for Proposals, and helped to set up the Program's operations and social accountability approach. Prior to this, she supported the implementation of the WB's Governance and Anti-corruption (GAC) strategy in core public sector and sectorial reforms in the Latin America and Caribbean region, including in social protection, health, education, W&S, energy and transport operations. Before joining the WB, she worked for ten years with CSOs in South America, the Caribbean and Central America doing public policy advocacy and organizing multi-stakeholder coalitions for government transparency and accountability; she was elected vice-chair of the Social Forum for Transparency (Argentina), and also worked in the public sector in Argentina and the Dominican Republic. Maria is a Fulbright fellow, and holds a master's degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University, a postgraduate degree in Civil Society Studies (San Andres and Di Tella Universities' joint degree, Argentina), and a B.A. in International Relations (Argentina).

Andres Falconer is currently head of Partnerships of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability within the Governance Global Practice at the World Bank. Previously, he served as the country director of Ashoka in the U.K.