On the eve of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Gender Action proudly launches its new case study series on International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and gender based violence (GBV).
Although at least one in three women worldwide will experience GBV in their lifetime, Gender Action's Primer on International Financial Institutions and GBV revealed that the World Bank currently funds GBV projects in only three countries--the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cote D'Ivoire and Haiti. Despite the World Bank's obligation to transparently share project information with the public, it has not disclosed any documentation for these three GBV investments on its website. Totaling US$3.2 million, these GBV investments represent just 0.005 of the World Bank's FY2010 budget.
Decades of violent conflict have led to devastating rates of GBV in the DRC. GBV is particularly rife in the DRC's mineral-rich eastern region, where militia groups use rape as a weapon to control the lucrative supply of tungsten, coltan, diamonds and gold. "The World Bank & Gender Based Violence Case Study: the Democratic Republic of Congo" therefore analyzes the extent to which the World Bank's two current DRC mining investments implement the World Bank's policy to identify and prevent potential harmful gender project impacts. Although the World Bank acknowledges that small-scale mining is "frequently associated with negative social impacts including...gender discrimination and violence," neither investment adequately addresses women and girls' increased vulnerability to GBV, including forced sex work and sexual assault. Gender Action's case study includes several recommendations for the World Bank to enhance its response to GBV in all of its investments, including in mining enterprises, as well as recommendations for civil society to encourage IFI investments to provide GBV prevention and direct health and social services for GBV survivors.