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Factsheet August 30, 2018

Fact Sheet: Update on Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Development Projects

Understanding the context of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in development

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.
  • The effects of violence experienced by women, such as intimate partner violence, are felt at the individual, family, and community levels. Consequences of violence include increased risk for suicide, alcohol abuse, as well as negative impacts on human development outcomes.
  • Gender-based violence has dire economic consequences, costing an estimated 1.2%-3.7% of GDP in some countries due to lost productivity, equivalent to the average spending of low and middle-income countries on primary education.
  • Decreasing GBV requires a community-based, multi-pronged approach, and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders. The most effective initiatives address underlying risk factors for violence, including social norms regarding gender roles and the acceptability of violence.
  • Low and middle-income countries have fewer quality service available for women experiencing violence.  This impairs their path to recovery.

Learning from the past and partners – evolution of the World Bank’s work on addressing GBV  

  • The World Bank has engaged with countries and partners since 2003 to support projects and knowledge products aimed at preventing and addressing GBV. However, over the last few years, the Bank has ramped up its efforts to more effectively address GBV risks in its operations, including learning from other institutions.   
  • The World Bank supports over $250 million in development projects aimed at addressing GBV in World Bank Group (WBG)-financed operations, both through standalone projects and through the integration of GBV components in sector-specific projects in areas such as transport, education, social protection, and forced displacement.
  • The World Bank also conducts analytical work on violence against women and girls, a topic on which there is limited empirical data. For example, Violence against Women and Girls: Lessons from South Asia is the first report of its kind to gather all available data and information on GBV in the region. In partnership with research institutions and other development organizations, the World Bank has also compiled a comprehensive review of the global evidence for effective interventions to prevent or reduce violence against women and girls. These lessons are now informing our work in several sectors, and are captured in sector-specific resources in the VAWG Resource Guide:
  • The World Bank’s Global Platform on Addressing GBV in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings facilitated South-South knowledge sharing through workshops and yearly learning tours, building evidence on what works to prevent GBV, and providing quality services to women, men, and child survivors.  The Platform included a $13 million cross-regional and cross-practice initiative, establishing pilot projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and Georgia, focused on GBV prevention and mitigation, as well as knowledge and learning activities.
  • In October 2016, the World Bank launched the Global Gender-Based Violence Task Force to strengthen the institution’s efforts to prevent and respond to risks of GBV, and particularly sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) that may arise in World Bank-supported  projects. It builds on existing work by the World Bank and other actors to tackle violence against women and girls through strengthened approaches to identifying and assessing key risks, and developing key mitigations measures to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and other forms of GBV. 
  • In line with its commitments under IDA 18, the World Bank developed an Action Plan for Implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations, consolidating key actions across institutional priorities linked to enhancing social risk management, strengthening operational systems to enhance accountability, and building staff and client capacity to address risks of GBV through training and guidance materials.
  • In line with recommendations by the Task Force to disseminate lessons learned from past projects, and to sensitize staff on the importance of addressing risks of GBV/SEA, the World Bank has held a series of learning events for staff to share the recommendations of the Task Force and associated Action Plan, and to raise wider awareness of the need to address GBV risks. Additional guidance for staff is being developed in the context of the Bank’s new Environmental and Social Framework.
  • The World Bank regularly convenes a wide range of development stakeholders to address violence against women and girls. For example, WBG President Jim Yong Kim has committed to an annual Development Marketplace competition, together with the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, to encourage researchers from around the world to build the evidence base of what works to prevent GBV. 

Addressing GBV, including SEA, in World Bank Group-financed Operations

  • Learning from and working with development partners and client countries, the World Bank has developed a GBV risk assessment tool to assess contextual and project-related risks. The tool is to be used by any project containing civil works, and was tested by the Transport sector, as well as part of GBV risk portfolio reviews undertaken in DRC, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon.
  • The World Bank is piloting innovative uses of social media to change behaviors. For example, in the South Asia region, the pilot program WEvolve used social media to empower young women and men to challenge and break through prevailing norms that underpin gender violence.
  • Learning from the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project and following the Global GBV Task Force’s recommendations, the World Bank started incorporating GBV issues in infrastructure projects in recent years:
    • In the East Asia and Pacific region, GBV prevention and response interventions – including a code of conduct on sexual exploitation and abuse – are embedded within the Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project.
  • The Liberia Southeastern Corridor Road Asset Management Project, where SEA awareness will be raised, among other strategies, as part of a pilot project to employ women in the use of heavy machinery. 
  • The Bolivia Santa Cruz Road Corridor Project uses a three-pronged approach to address potential GBV, including a Code of Conduct for their workers; a Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) that includes a specific mandate to address any kinds gender-based violence; and concrete measures to empower women and to bolster their economic resilience by helping them learn new skills, improve the production and commercialization of traditional arts and crafts, and access more investment opportunities.
  • The Mozambique Integrated Feeder Road Development Project identified SEA as a substantial risk during project preparation and takes a preemptive approach: a Code of Conduct; support to – and guidance for – the survivors in case any instances of SEA were to occur within the context of the project – establishing a “survivor-centered approach” that creates multiple entry points for anyone experiencing SEA to seek the help they need; and these measures are taken in close coordination with local community organizations, and an international NGO Jhpiego, which has extensive experience working in Mozambique.
  • Stand-alone GBV Operations:
    • In June 2017, the Board approved the $40 million Uganda Strengthening Social Risk Management and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response Project. The project focuses on community-based interventions for the prevention of GBV, drawing from several rigorously evaluated approaches, and on strengthening critical sectors to provide quality response services to survivors of GBV. The project also includes an Impact Evaluation focusing on GBV prevention interventions.
    • In the Great Lakes Emergency Sexual and Gender Based Violence & Women's Health Project, the World Bank approved $107 million in financial grants to Burundi, the DRC, and Rwanda to provide integrated health and counseling services, legal aid, and economic opportunities to survivors of – or those affected by – sexual and gender-based violence. In DRC alone, 40,000 people, including 29,000 women, have received these services and support.
    • In August 2018, the World Bank committed $100 million to help prevent GBV in the DRC. The Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response Project will reach 795,000 direct beneficiaries over the course of four years. The project will provide help to survivors of GBV, and aim to shift social norms by promoting gender equality and behavioral change through strong partnerships with civil society organizations.