World Bank Grants Aid for Economic Development in Bangsamoro Region

The World Bank and Community Family Services International (CFSI) have signed a grant agreement to support sustainable livelihoods and participation in resilient and inclusive communities of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants and their families. The agreement will provide economic support to approximately 39,200 people in six rural communities.

This $4 million community-driven project is being financed under the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund. The fund oversees assistance from development partners for the decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in the Philippines, and is administered by the World Bank. The Bangsamoro Camps Transformation Project supports the Philippines' agenda to increase availability of services in conflict-affected areas.

"The approval of the first project to be financed under this trust fund is an important milestone in bringing critical services to the camp communities within the Normalization process," said World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand Ndiamé Diop. "The long-term goal is to contribute to income stabilization and food security of households in these communities through improved basic infrastructure, enhanced livelihood diversification, and climate-smart agriculture."

The project will focus on increasing incomes from agriculture, the main economic activity for these communities, including through capacity building and skills development for cooperatives and women's groups. It will also support household incomes through infrastructure improvements such as solar driers, rice mills or drainage canals, and agricultural inputs. The project will further seek to strengthen community inclusion through construction of community facilities.

Communities will help make decisions on infrastructure priorities and targeted cooperatives will make decisions on their chosen area of focus and support. Project criteria specify strategies of inclusion for women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples. As lead partner to Community Family Services International, the Bangsamoro Development Agency - the development arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front -- will head the implementation of project activities at the community level.

"This project provides an important entry point for strengthening collaboration across different levels of government and stakeholders such as communities, local government units, regional ministries, and other contributors to the peace process" said World Bank Senior Social Development Specialist Ditte Marie Fallesen, the task team leader for the project. "Climate and disaster risks present significant challenges in the camp communities and will require a multi-stakeholder approach to build community resilience."

Established in 2021, the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund is funded by the governments of Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom. Its steering committee, co-chaired by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government's Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), approved the project design on June 6, 2023.

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