When considering support for refugees and their host communities, gender based violence (GBV) is a great concern that requires special care and attention.
Unfortunately, violence against women and girls is all too common in many countries across the globe. Drivers of GBV include entrenched social norms that perpetuate power imbalances between men and women, and more generally circumscribe women’s agency and voice in communities and in the home. Despite a recent increase in reporting, data suggest that 45 percent of women who have experienced GBV did not seek help or tell anyone, and there are striking regional differences.
Social Safeguards in Action
Our planet is undergoing a process of rapid urbanization, and the next few decades will see unprecedented growth in urban areas, including in urban infrastructure. Most of the growth will take place in low-and middle-income countries. The expansion and development of urban areas require the acquisition of land, which often requires physical relocation of people who own or occupy that land.
How can urban resettlement become a development opportunity for those affected by the process of urban development?
A World Bank report titled Urban Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement: Linking Innovation and Local Benefits offers useful examples:
About a decade ago, we started a project to improve solid waste management for waste pickers like Ibrahim and the 840,000 people in the southern West Bank governorates of Bethlehem and Hebron. One of the project components included the closure of the Yatta dumpsite, where illegally dumped and burned household waste was reaching a very unsanitary and hazardous level.
But here came the challenge.
While the closure of the dumpsite would mean putting an end to a serious environmental and public health problem, it was terrible news for the waste pickers and their families. It meant that the livelihoods of those families would come to an end.
Development is challenging even under the best of conditions. It can be even more difficult when the local context is complex, and when some groups face the risk of losing out as part of the development process.
The World Bank's environmental and social safeguard policies are a cornerstone of its support to sustainable poverty reduction. The objective of these policies is to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process.
On the people side, the World Bank has two specific policies that support this objective. These are often referred to as the social safeguard policies – on "Involuntary Resettlement" and "Indigenous Peoples."
While the implementation of the policies can sometimes be challenging, they have – in the large majority of World Bank-financed projects – made a real difference in peoples’ lives and livelihoods. Together with communities, implementing agencies, and technical specialists, the application of these policies have brought restoration and improvement of livelihoods to families across the world.
We have best practices and many human stories emerging from different parts of the world on the application of these policies that we want to share. Going forward, we'll share some of these experiences to help promote sustainable development through a “Social Safeguards in Action” blog series.
We want to invite you to follow this “Social Safeguards in Action” blog series – as part of our Sustainable Communities blogs – where we will be illustrating with a variety of examples, results stories, and in some cases, even unexpected lessons learned that go beyond just doing no harm, in implementation of social safeguard policies in resettlement and Indigenous Peoples in the World Bank. In the coming weeks, you’ll see examples from India, Kenya, Vietnam, and many other countries.
In 2018, the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) will come into effect and will gradually replace the Safeguard policies. The two sets of policies will operate in parallel for about seven years. The ESF builds on the experience and the good practice the Bank has developed implementing the Safeguards.
Last August, I visited Quang Ngai, a central coastal province in Vietnam, to collect data for a survey on women’s participation in resettlement activities. I expected our first meeting with the local community to be short and uncontroversial. It wasn’t.
“We, women? Our participation? It doesn’t matter. We all stay at home. We don’t care about you coming here and asking about our participation,” said one female participant. “What we do care is to know the extent to which the recommendations we make today will be addressed. We need a resettlement site with community house, trees and kindergarten as promised during the project preparation.”
That comment brought to light an important perspective, highlighting the tension between what we might expect women to want, and their actual needs.
The impacts of development-induced resettlement disproportionately affect women, as they are faced with more difficulties than men to cope with disruption to their families. And this is particularly the case if there is no mechanism to enable meaningful participation and consultation with women throughout the project cycle in general and in the resettlement process in particular.
In development practices, the process of information gathering and dissemination has remained in the domain of social development. While the process itself contributes to social development through knowledge transmission and critical consciousness (topic for another blog post), the tools and techniques required for effective use and dissemination of information comes from the communication school. Yet, rarely do we find social development experts with communication training and vice-versa. My recent exposure to CommGAP’s work and my decade long experience as a social development professional have impelled me to examine areas where communication and social development are intertwined and where they complement one another. In this blog post, I wish to sketch an outline of a research work that I wish to undertake on the subject for feedback and suggestions from readers and practitioners in the field.
- Social Safeguards in Action
- Communication and Social Development
- Communication in Project Cycle
- Community Empowerment
- Demand Side of Good Governance
- Field Survey
- Social Mobilization
- Social Safeguards
- Socio-Economic Data Collection
- Social Impact Assessment
- Social Development
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Information and Communication Technologies