World Bank Group

Reducing Poverty and Fostering Sustainable Development With the World Bank


“Within one year of working with the Crossland Group, my portfolio as head of the infrastructure group at the World Bank went from worst performing to best performing.”

Dr. Frannie Léautier

Former Chief of Staff to the President

The World Bank Group

The challenge

The state of Ceará is one of the poorest in Brazil. For the past two decades, Ceará and the World Bank have worked together to find ways to reduce poverty and foster sustainable development. While the quality of life of the Ceará people was improving as a result of the World Bank partnership, poverty remained deep and severe by any standard.

Concerned that public policies were not achieving better results, the government of Ceará and the World Bank agreed to promote a joint effort to change that. To do so, the World Bank hired the Crossland group to lead the change.

What we did

Crossland was invited to develop and facilitate a process of rapid prototyping and implementation for strategic priorities that would deliver measurable results in ninety days. The World Bank wanted to focus on issues as diverse as infant mortality, education, and income generation.

Working with a broad group of stakeholders including World Bank employees, and more than twenty-five Ceará state officials and secretariats of health, education, economic development, Crossland utilized its Accelerating Change Together (ACT) process, which compresses problem-solving time and creates the necessary collaboration conditions and capacity building to implement actions within three months.

The result

118 new health workers, 10 new primary schools, 1 new tax law

Through the ACT process, the state of Ceará and the World Bank achieved numerous measurable results.

Public Health:

  • New assistance to municipalities with high infant mortality rates
  • Additional support to medical caregivers on providing quality pre- and post-natal care
  • The hiring of 118 health agents to work in high infant mortality rate areas


  • 173 municipalities adopted the “Pact for Literacy” initiative
  • Increase in the number of full-time primary schools from 38 to 48

Economic Growth and Employment:

  • New simplified tax law approved by the government and sent to the State Assembly
  • Defined and implemented action plans, which resulted in:

(a) a large local produce fair, in which 120 businesses competed for opportunities to supply school meals

(b) a large tourism fair and conference promoting tourism and information exchange among small and medium hotel owners

(c) small business “incubators” in each of the three municipalities of Ceará


Number of new primary schools


Number of new health workers


Number of assisted municipalities to adopt Pact for Literacy


Number of engaged state officials and secretaries


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