“I worked as an electrician in Artsakh for 27 years. After the war, we didn’t even take a blanket when we moved to Armenia. This program provided me work and I wish it would last longer.”
Lyova Hasanyan moved to Armenia with seven family members
Armenia Support to Conflict-Affected Families Grant
People in FCV settings live with persistent threats even as they seek to provide the basics for their families. Today’s overlapping set of challenges—including climate change, escalating debt, inflation, and food insecurity, to name but a few—only serve to compound these threats. To address these challenges, the SPF complements the World Bank’s country, regional, and global programs through catalytic grant financing for all contexts affected by FCV, including countries that cannot access IDA, such as countries in arrears, non-members, and IBRD countries.
The World Bank Group (WBG) FCV strategy focuses on preventing conflict and violence, remaining engaged during crises and in countries going through recovery and transition, and mitigating spillovers of FCV, with stronger collaboration with humanitarian-development-peace partners, to protect human capital, institutions, and development gains. The SPF plays a critical role in financing work at the frontiers of the FCV agenda, through innovative, analytical, and operational activities that can be mainstreamed and expanded, particularly small-scale projects. Its role as a rapid response vehicle for the quick mobilization of finance is in line with the World Bank’s increased focus on greater flexibility and speed when responding to FCV crisis situations.
As of 2022, SPF had financed 286 grants in 66 countries since its inception in 2008, with over $327 million committed. The following examples demonstrate the range of approaches employed by the SPF, and the diversity of contexts in which it provides support.
Armenia: Support to Conflict-affected Families
In 2020, more than 90,000 people—88 percent of them women and children—were displaced from Azerbaijan to Armenia due to conflict. These displaced people lacked access to basic services, education, and health care after leaving behind their assets, livelihoods, and social networks. An SPF grant provided $3.72 million to the Government of the Republic of Armenia to improve the resilience of displaced people and reduce the financial burden on host families, with a particular focus on women and vulnerable members of the population. The SPF project supported temporary cash benefits to displaced families, to help them buy food and find jobs, and to their host families. As of 2022, the project financed monthly cash grants for 4,000 displaced people, of whom 52 percent were women; provided cash transfers to 4,872 host families hosting close to 13,000 displaced people; and temporarily subsidized an employment program for close to 400 displaced people.
DRC Crisis Observatory
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the costs of conflict over the last two decades have been enormous, despite efforts at conflict prevention and stabilization. In this context, reliable data and analytics are crucial for evidence-based decision-making. With support from the SPF, the DRC Crisis Observatory used adaptive tools to collect data at high frequency and share the data with humanitarian organizations, donors, and development partners to improve coordination and decision-making. The DRC Crisis Observatory established a proof of-concept that even in complex FCV contexts facing multiple crises (Ebola, COVID-19, conflict, climate change), high-frequency data collection and analytics are possible. The data and analytics allowed a better understanding of how crises affected living standards of households; informed decision-makers on vaccine hesitancy as part of the COVID-19 response; and supported monitoring of recovery progress in Eastern DRC. The model is being replicated in Burundi to enable evidence-based decision making.
Colombia: Emergency Response for Venezuelan Migrants and Hosts
During the last few years, Colombia has hosted a large number of Venezuelan migrants. The migration presented a twofold humanitarian crisis, combining large numbers of migrants with the COVID-19 pandemic. An SPF grant supported nearly 20,000 migrant households, covering more than 65,000 individuals, of whom more than 75 percent were women. Project implementation partners used media and targeted sensitization campaigns for host communities to reduce negative messaging against Venezuelans and to avoid migration-related conflicts. The project had several wider impacts that contributed to longer-term social and economic inclusion of Venezuelan migrants, including increased awareness of the challenges faced by migrants, and mobilization of other services to support them, such as vaccines, temporary employment, and food benefits.
Bank Group Contribution
Since 2008, the IBRD contribution to the SPF is $246.7 million, representing 67 percent of the total program size of $367.3 million. The rest of the financing is contributed by SPF donor countries.
SPF continues to build partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders, including United Nations (UN) Agencies, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral development banks. Examples of partnerships include working with the Social Fund for Development in Yemen to strengthen humanitarian-development coordination; with the Turkish Red Crescent to support refugees transitioning to communities; with the EU, UN, and African Development Bank on the Northern Mozambique Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment; and with the World Food Programme, International Organization for Migration, and United Nations Development Programme to measure poverty in South Sudan.
SPF will expand and enhance its grant activities in FCV frontier areas including: the inter-relationship between climate change, disaster, and conflict; natural resource management; private sector development in FCV contexts; mental health and psycho-social support; and addressing interpersonal violence. SPF will continue to support implementation of the WBG FCV strategy to better address the drivers and impacts of FCV. To further prioritize key frontier areas, SPF will invest in proactively engaging with key internal and external stakeholders, including SPF donors. The SPF is also increasing its emphasis on knowledge, learning, and communications, through the dissemination of case studies and good practices.