Extreme events like wars, or natural disasters, leave visible destruction in their wake. The burned houses, the barren fields where crops used to grow, the battered bodies of survivors, can be seen, rebuilt, replanted and given medical attention.
But what about the damage that cannot be seen? What about the difficulty sleeping, or concentrating, or trusting others that plague survivors? These “invisible wounds” find their way into our projects, and affect our project outcomes. They may keep people from attending meetings regularly – or from even showing up in the first place – and they may hinder them from taking risks or thinking longer term.
How can we be sensitive to these issues in our work, and what difference can it make for the effectiveness of our projects? “Invisible Wounds,” organized by the World Bank Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team, is a conversation among development practitioners, mental health and psychosocial experts, and researchers about how we can improve effectiveness of our projects by integrating sensitivity to trauma and psychosocial well-being.