Skip to Main Navigation
August 30, 2023

Human Capital Umbrella Program

Aligned with the World Bank’s Human Capital Project, the Human Capital Umbrella Program helps countries design and implement evidence-based multisectoral initiatives that build, protect, and use human capital across the life cycle through a ‘whole-of-government’ approach. The initiative is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Canadian Government and it informs government policies and World Bank-financed operations through data and measurement, technical assistance, and analytical work.


Human Capital Umbrella Program at a Glance

Key Results

The Umbrella Program provides opportunities for country teams to incubate innovative solutions and address country-level challenges related to human capital through multi-sectoral action.



The Power of Data and Measurement to Improve Human Capital Outcomes

Resources from the Umbrella Program support the development of innovative approaches that harness the role of the Human Capital Index (HCI) to provide an evidence-based rationale that complements policy measures and targeted interventions. For example:

  • In Kenya, grants from the Umbrella program helped develop a methodology that compiled government spending to build an investment case for early childhood development programs.
  • Analytical work in Bangladesh highlighted interventions that improve learning outcomes and delay marriages for adolescent girls, resulting in the development of a new project on secondary education.
  • In Pakistan, a survey identified challenges confronted by female informal workers, leading to actions that improve their working conditions.


Strong Outcomes from a Whole-of-Government Approach

Many analytical activities supported by the program inform policies and strategies, shape institutional changes, and bolster cross-sectoral programs – improving government’s implementation capacity to accelerate human capital outcomes.

  • In Ethiopia, resources from the Umbrella Program helped revise national planning guidelines, standardizing and aligning strategies and policy frameworks at federal, regional, and local levels to combat stunting.
  • A roadmap in Kenya identified potential entry points that improved policies and spending to invest in early childhood programs and boosted women’s productivity.
  • Public Expenditure and Institutional Reviews (PEIRs) in Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia comprehensively analyze public fund allocation, expenditure effectiveness, and identify funding and financing gaps. These reviews serve as a foundation for designing and implementing effective interventions.


Decreased Gender Gaps in Human Capital Outcomes: Gender Innovation and Regional Learning (GIRL) in Africa

The GIRL Initiative complements the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project. The initiative aims to broaden and deepen girls’ and women’s empowerment in 9 countries across West and Central Africa, working with regional partners such as ECOWAS/WAHO and the African Union. It provides technical assistance to design and pilot transformative gender interventions that generate evidence to shape programs and policymaking.

GIRL Initiative in the Sahel

Childcare Interventions in Cameroon

  • Qualitative study is informing childcare interventions
  • Research is helping design childcare centers in rural areas

Integrating Sexual & Reproductive Health (SRH), Skills Training, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Prevention in Chad

  • Developing a platform that delivers entrepreneurship training and key resources that prevent and respond to GBV

Integrating Health Centers & Safe Spaces in Mali

  • Piloted in conflict-affected areas, girls and health workers receive life skills training and information on SRH

Leveraging Radios and Digital Technologies in Cote d’Ivoire

  • Developing online curriculum & radio shows to deliver SRH education to girls
  • Qualitative research informs content and messages to engage parents and tutors
Gates Foundation and Government of Canada logos