World Bank approves funds to increase safety nets and nutrition services for poor families in Comoros

March 19, 2015

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2015 - The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$6 million International Development Association (IDA)* grant for the Union of Comoros to increase access to social safety nets focusing on improving communities’ productive and disaster response capacity as well as child and mother nutrition.

As a nation of islands with a small domestic market, a narrow export base, a considerable dependence on food imports and remittances, and a history of political instability, the Government of Comoros faces many challenges in delivering quality basic services, particularly in rural areas where poverty is widespread and where frequent natural disasters can seriously affect the people living in the communities.

“Effective safety net and nutrition programs are pivotal to Comoros achieving the MDGs and reducing extreme poverty while boosting shared prosperity for the bottom 40 percent of the population,” said Mark Lundell, the World Bank Country Director for Comoros. “This project will support these efforts and allow the government to better assist the poor and build their resilience.”

Today’s financing supports the Comoros Social Safety Nets Project that will provide social safety net services to almost 6,000 extremely poor families, and will include activities related to protecting communities’ productive assets and increasing their resilience to climate change. It will also focus on improving the nutrition of young children and mothers from poor communities.  An estimated 9,200 children ages 5 and younger will benefit from nutrition services in the 60 targeted communities. More than 50 percent of project’s beneficiaries are women. The project will also help strengthen safety net management, coordination, as well as monitoring and evaluation.

Comoros is highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides as well as tropical storms, torrential rains, floods, rising sea levels, erosion, and tidal waves. The project includes disaster response measures through cash for work activities for about 2,600 families as well as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of essential infrastructure in communities affected by future natural disasters.

“Social protection policies and programs are extremely important for the country’s development,” said Andrea Vermehren, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “By increasing the access of the poorest population to productive safety and nutrition services, the project will promote short-term income creation, medium-term productive asset building and resilience, and better nutrition for long-term human development.”

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