The 2003 Global DM was held in December, 2003 at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC. 183 projects from 63 countries qualified as finalists from a pool of 2700 applications. 47 winning projects shared the highest ever DM award pool of US$6.5 million. According to its sponsors, this year's competition also fulfilled the vision of a true marketplace.
Financing partners for DM2003 included, for the first time, the Global Environment Facility, UNAIDS, Microsoft, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, among others. A number of units within the Bank also provided support, including InfoDev, the HIV/AIDS program, and IFC.
DM2003 chose for its theme the year's World Development Report, Making Services Work for Poor People and aimed to provide funding for pilot projects that explore new ways of providing effective service delivery to those whom traditional channels have failed.
Winning concepts ranged from training rats to detect tuberculosis in Tanzania or using car tires to reinforce walls in earthquake-prone Turkey. For 47 new programs, this seed money will help to turn the winners' innovative local ideas into viable programs that will yield concrete benefits for their communities and help reduce world poverty. Because of the exposure even those finalists who did not win money awards stand a very high probability of still getting resources or technical assistance.
A number of new awards were introduced in 2003. Among them was a People's Choice which was an opportunity to see how those who visited the booths' staff and others' would have given awards.