April marked the official launch of global consultations to inform the World Bank Group’s first-ever Strategy for Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV). , building on the comparative advantage of the Bank Group in fragile settings. As we embark on this process, the most relevant question for us is how to build on progress made and optimize our interventions to be our most effective on the ground, with special focus on making a lasting difference for the most vulnerable populations. Furthermore, in FCV settings, we know that no single organization can act alone – as the World Bank Group, this strategy is about positioning our analytical, operational, and convening power to contribute to broader international efforts in support of peace and prosperity.
When I first visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2007 as a public health researcher, I was trying to understand the complex issue of how young men get recruited into rebel groups in war-torn regions of central Africa. What I learned was both surprising and heartbreaking: a person who experienced war violence as a child could be more likely to engage in conflict as a young adult. Young men who had experienced extreme war violence in their past would often state this as a reason to take up arms. Even more tragically, these same young men would often struggle to reintegrate peacefully into their communities when hostilities ended. The violence they had experienced their whole lives through war persisted within their homes and communities even when formal peace was declared.