Poor women and aid and support package

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Poor women and aid and support package

Poor women and aid and support package

Extreme poverty has fallen from more than a third of the world's population 30 years ago to less than 10 percent today, but this is not the case for people living in or near war zones. Here, global efforts to date have not been able to change this situation, and unfortunately, the number of poor people is increasing.



Unless there is decisive action to end this trend, by 2030, more than half of the world's extreme poor will be concentrated in pockets of violence and instability.



In Afghanistan, for example, more than half of the population lives below the national poverty line. The hardships were combined on the poorest of the population, who were unable to escape their situation. A snapshot of families supported by a World Bank-funded project in Balkh Province shows the scale of this challenge.



The head of the family - usually a man in five out of every six - is unable to read or write. Four out of five families live on less than $30 a month. Debt burdens two-thirds of them, while the rest barely make ends meet.



If the head of the family is a woman, life becomes much worse. In these villages, as few as 4 percent can read and write, two out of three women who are responsible for the family suffer from depression, and only half of school-aged girls go to and attend school.



At the World Bank, we've been looking for new ways to address this deep and widening problem of how to break out of a seemingly endless cycle of self-reinforcing poverty, and we've discovered that there are good things that can happen when you take a "big nudge" approach. ".



Think, for example, of launching a rocket into space, which needs a massive boost of energy to help it penetrate the atmosphere and reach a new trajectory where, once the launch is achieved, it has the thrust needed to keep moving forward. Likewise, what if we simultaneously removed the multiple constraints faced by the poor? Will this help them escape the trap of poverty?

The evidence shows that we can make a difference for the world's most marginalized population. As we prepare for the next IDA replenishment, we have an opportunity to incorporate these lessons into our programs focused on countries affected by fragility and conflict.



As part of our Growth Promotion Program, some of the poorest families in 80 villages in Balkh Province participated in a public ballot competition to participate in the subsidy scheme.



The program gave the women a significant boost in the form of a one-time aid package, including ownership of livestock, usually cows, and sometimes sheep and goats, a consumption grant of $15 per month for one year, skills training, access to savings accounts and encouragement of savings, and health care services. Guidance and follow-up through regular visits every two weeks. Two years later, and one year after the program was discontinued, the standard of living of the families who received the large booster package was found to have greatly improved. Their spending rose by a third and a fifth of them exceeded the poverty line. In addition, the level of psychological well-being, the number of hours spent at work, the rates of financial inclusion, and the empowerment of women increased.



Women who had previously suffered from a lack of job opportunities were given economic opportunities - often denied them - to seize upon. Because men performed better on average to start with, the program also narrowed the gap between men and women, contributing to gender equality and improvements in the family as a whole.



We are excited about the significant social and economic returns that the Big Push approach could bring in some of the world's most challenging places.



This approach has been tried in countries such as Ethiopia, India and Bangladesh, but it is very encouraging to see that it works in such a fragile environment as Afghanistan. The effects may be greater than in more stable situations because the constraints are so severe, and when we look at the numbers, it becomes clear that the benefits are likely to outweigh the cost.



Although more work is needed, the potential to target large, time-bound development investments is clear. By empowering women financially and with appropriate assistance, the increase in poverty that is concentrated in the most fragile and dangerous places in the world can be reversed.



The evidence shows that we can make a difference for the world's most marginalized population. As we prepare for the next IDA replenishment, we have an opportunity to incorporate these lessons into our programs focused on countries affected by fragility and conflict.


Under our Growth Promotion Program, some of the poorest families in 80 villages in Balkh Province participated in a public ballot competition to participate in the subsidy scheme.

The program gave the women a "big boost" in the form of a one-time aid package, including livestock ownership - usually cows, sometimes sheep and goats - a consumption grant of $15 per month for one year, skills training, access to savings accounts and savings encouragement, and care services. Health, guidance and follow-up through regular visits every two weeks. Two years later - a year after the program was discontinued - the standard of living of families who received the 'Big Boost' package was found to have significantly improved. Their spending rose by a third and a fifth of them exceeded the poverty line. In addition, psychological well-being, the number of hours spent at work, financial inclusion rates, and women's empowerment increased.


The women, who had previously suffered from a lack of job opportunities, obtained economic opportunities that were often denied them and held on to them. Because men, on average, performed better to start with, the program also narrowed the gap between men and women, contributing to gender equality and improvements in the family as a whole.


We are excited about the significant social and economic returns that the "big push" approach could bring in some of the world's most challenging places.


He states that this approach has been tried in countries such as Ethiopia, India and Bangladesh, but it is very encouraging to see that it works in a fragile environment such as Afghanistan. The effects may be greater than in more stable settings because the constraints are so severe, and when we look at the numbers, it becomes clear that the benefits are likely to outweigh the cost.


Although more work is needed, the potential to target large, time-bound development investments is clear. By empowering women financially and with appropriate assistance, the increase in poverty that is concentrated in the most fragile and dangerous places in the world can be reversed.


And the evidence shows that we can make a difference for the world's most marginalized population. As we prepare for the next IDA replenishment, we have an opportunity to incorporate these lessons into our programs focused on countries affected by fragility and conflict.


Source: World Bank