Comoros Gets $30M for Emergency Cash, Boost Vulnerable Households

WASHINGTON, February 6, 2023-The World Bank approved a $30 million grant of which $15 million comes from the Crisis Response Window to provide both immediate and medium-term support to vulnerable populations. The project will be nationwide and will invest in setting up a strong social protection system for the Comoros. and will be implemented in the three islands of Mwali, Ndzouwani, and Ngazidja, covering around 200 villages.

The Shock Responsive and Resilient Social Safety Net Project will provide social cash transfers to the chronically poor and vulnerable households to help them meet their immediate needs in the face of multiple crisis, including increasing food insecurity. Building on the preceding Social Safety Net Project), the new project will support the most vulnerable households through opportunities for income generating activities and climate sensitive public works. The interventions will be complemented with economic inclusion and human capital accompanying measures, as well as technical training to enhance beneficiaries’ skills and awareness around key areas, including gender norms. 40,000 households reaching an estimate of 200,000 people, will benefit from the project.

“With all the challenges the country faces, there is a strong and obvious need to strengthen and expand the social protection system in Comoros in order to support the Comorian population to cope with and recover from shocks,” said Boubacar Sidiki Walbani, World Bank Resident Representative in Comoros. “By covering around 26% of Comorian population or 32% of the population in the project area, this project reaffirms the World Bank’s commitment to support the Government of Comoros and Comorian population to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and strengthen their resilience in the face of various and increasing shocks.”

Activities implemented under this project will be supported by accompanying measures that will mainly target women-heads of households and young people of productive age, reflecting the Government of Comoros’s own priorities to focus on human capital development and economic inclusion. Human capital accompanying measures are centered around improving early childhood development, parenting practices, nutrition, awareness for children’s education, and women empowerment. Accompanying measures focusing on economic and financial inclusion are geared towards fostering climate resilience by encouraging the adoption of improved agricultural techniques, promoting village savings, and supporting diversification and adaptability of livelihoods.

“Evidence in many countries have shown that social protection programs contribute to addressing inequalities, reducing extreme poverty, and building human capital. Given that poverty and inequality have inherent gender and youth dimensions, the project will prioritize women and youth as the main recipients of cash transfers and support female and youth-led income generating activities. Women and youth will also benefit from and be an integral part of the delivery of accompanying measures,” said Julia Rachel Ravelosoa, Senior Social Protection Economist. “We’re delighted that this project will contribute to setting up a strong and integrated social protection system for the Comoros.”

The World Bank has supported Comoros to build its social protection system since 2015 with the first IDA funded project in the amount of $6 million in 2015 focusing on building a productive safety net program combined with nutrition activities. This grant has been followed by an additional financing of $18 million in December 2019 to respond to Cyclone Kenneth covering 10,290 vulnerable households in 118 villages on three islands, benefiting from livelihood support and socio-economic resilience activities. Finally, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project allocated $6.5 million to support the Government of Comoros to address the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic through social cash transfers that benefited 21,556 vulnerable households in urban and peri-urban areas.

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