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Social Cohesion and Growth: Evidence from Evaluation of World Bank Programs
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Social Cohesion and Growth: Evidence from Evaluation of World Bank Programs

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Presentation on evaluative lessons from World Bank's Programs on gender and social cohesion. The presentation was made at the Gender Conference in Rome in October 2011, which was organized by the …

Presentation on evaluative lessons from World Bank's Programs on gender and social cohesion. The presentation was made at the Gender Conference in Rome in October 2011, which was organized by the Italian Central Bank.


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  • There is no substitute for targeted interventions, and targeted interventions need to be relevant to the specific constraints.IEG’s Gender evaluation of WB projects and programs found that, because of the different roles and responsibilities of women and men, in about 75% of these projects and programs women did not benefit as much as men.
  • There is no substitute for targeted interventions, and targeted interventions need to be relevant to the specific constraints.IEG’s Gender evaluation of WB projects and programs found that, because of the different roles and responsibilities of women and men, in about 75% of these projects and programs women did not benefit as much as men.
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    • 1. Coesione Sociale e Crescita:Evidenza da Valutazione diProgrammi della Banca Mondiale Daniela Gressani Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group
    • 2. Context ► Three findings of the Gender WDR have strong evaluative underpinnings: • Equality fuels growth, which fuels equality – virtuous circle • Policy interventions are needed to accelerate progress in areas where the virtuous circle is too slow – e.g. maternal mortality, female HIV/AIDS prevalence, access to economic assets and inputs, and voice • Among women, the poor experience the worst and most stubborn inequality ► These findings are as valid for women as they are for excluded groups • They apply to ethnic minorities, marginalized groups • Fixing equality is part of the social cohesion agenda in theory and in practice • Social cohesion as the net of mutual accountabilities within society ► We can we learn from evaluation about how to make it happen • Findings from evaluations of World Bank programs in developing countries on what works and what does not in promoting social cohesion in general and gender equality in particular2
    • 3. Themes of the Presentation ► Interventions need to be targeted to women in order to work for women ► Attention to poor and marginalized people is critical for progress in gender equality, and more broadly in social cohesion ► No silver bullet – interventions need to be context-specific and multi-sectoral ► There is a wealth of evaluative findings that can be drawn upon to operationalize the findings of the WDR3
    • 4. What is IEG? ► Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank Group (WBG) ► Independent of WBG management, reports to the Executive Board ► Situated inside the WBG and focused on improving development effectiveness through evaluation ► About 150 staff and consultants, about 50% drawn from WBG, the rest evaluation and development experts from outside ► Validates self-evaluations conducted by the WBG on its lending, investments and guarantees and on its country programs ► Conducts in-depth independent evaluations on about 2 country programs, 12 themes or sectors, and 5 global partnerships involving the WBG (e.g. Global Fund, GAVI) per year ► Provides technical assistance to developing countries to support evaluation capacities (e.g. CLEAR Initiative), and engages with development partners (e.g. DAC Evaluation Network)4
    • 5. Interventions need to be targeted to reduce gender gaps (1) ► Men and women often do not benefit equally from an intervention unless the design expressly takes steps to mitigate the impact of the practices that inhibit equal sharing in the benefits: • Addressing constraints that are more severe for women does not automatically benefit them disproportionately: although women may be drastically in need of, say, microcredit, such resources can still mostly go to men, who may have better investment opportunities. • Targeted interventions need to go beyond ensuring equal access to services to reduce gender gaps: equal access does not translate in equal participation or equal benefits – e.g. cash transfers are not sufficient to increase girls’ school enrolment if quality is poor because returns to education are lower for girls (Bangladesh) or socio-cultural biases are stronger than incentives (Turkey).5
    • 6. Interventions need to be targeted to reduce gender gaps (2) ► Broad-based reforms do not automatically reduce gender gaps: • Labor market reforms do not reduce gender gaps in employment (Turkey and Colombia) even when improve the functioning of labor market. ► Gender-neutral interventions do not generate gender-neutral outcomes: • A survey of gender-neutral nutrition interventions has shown that they may have differential impacts on boys and girls, based for example on income level and mother’s education. • Activities that are not aimed at addressing gender issues may generate unintended results: in post-disaster reconstruction, the layout of temporary shelter structures affects gender-related safety – doors facing a common and well-lit area can improve women’s safety compared with doors opening on alleyways that are not well-observed or well-lit.6
    • 7. Attention to poor and marginalized people is critical (1) ► Trickle-down cannot be depended upon: • The finding in the Gender WDR that progress in closing gender gaps has been especially difficult for severely disadvantaged groups is consistent with evaluative findings. • It is especially well-documented that interventions in poor areas benefit the non-poor significantly more than the poor, and similar results apply to marginalized groups such as ethnic minorities. ► Community-Driven Development projects increase the participation of the poor and often also of women: • The WBG has been more successful where it has supported locally grown institutions. • Long-term support for institution building, especially at the local level, is needed for sustainability.7
    • 8. Attention to poor and marginalized people is critical (2) ► There are many positive examples of interventions supporting women’s participation: • These include microcredit programs that require regular attendance at meetings, creation of groups engaging in collective actions e.g. for infrastructure rehabilitation, incentives for men to support women’s participation in education or economic activity. ► But participatory approaches do not always mean participatory outcomes: • Even if the poor are formally consulted, their views and priorities can still be excluded from collective decision making. • Within a community, there can be a wide difference in preferences between people of different income levels as well as between men and women – e.g. the poorest households may favor irrigation and the better off may prefer roads, while women may prefer drinking water and the men roads (Indonesia).8
    • 9. Interventions need to be context- specific and multi-sectoral ► Progress in reducing gender gaps in human development has been greater than in other areas: • The Gender WDR notices in particular progress in girls’ education, but also remaining challenges in higher mortality of girls and women. • Most WBG interventions – both successful and not – aimed at gender equality have focused in health, education and social protection. • Progress in access to productive assets – i.e. credit, land – and in voice – i.e. decision-making power in the household, community and institutions – has been more mixed, both at the global level and for WBG interventions. ► Reducing the “harder” gender gaps requires interventions that are specific to the context and go beyond the sectors where they appear: • E.g. improving transportation to clinics has been important to reduce maternal mortality in Peru; in Colombia, improving the quality of care provided has been important to stimulate demand for health services by women. • Similar considerations apply to many other areas: improving land titling or user rights to increase access to credit and agricultural inputs (Ghana, Bangladesh), improving water facilities to increase female labor supply (China)9
    • 10. Evaluative findings of relevance for the Gender WDR ► IEG has conducted a significant body of work in this area: • IEG’s Gender evaluation (2010) • IEG’s evaluations on CDD, CCT, Health, HIV/AIDS, Nutrition, Education, Social Safety Nets, Agriculture and Agribusiness also address selected gender equality issues • Overlooked Links in the Results Chain (IEG Evaluation Brief by Thomas and Luo) presents key evaluative findings of relevance ► Evaluation findings point to what works and what does not – but also to what is missing or insufficient: • Measurement of distributional impacts of interventions • Attention to high fertility and nutrition • More systematic cost-benefit analysis ► Visit www.worldbank.org/ieg10