World Bank Announces Additional $200 Million in Financing for Ukraine | Financing will support essential social services; combined total of World Bank-mobilized support for Ukraine now stands at more than $925 million | The World Bank announced nearly $200 million in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraine’s social services for vulnerable people. This comes on top of the $723 million mobilized for Ukraine and its people last week, of which $350 million has already been disbursed to Ukraine. This financing is part of the $3 billion package of support that the World Bank Group previously announced it is preparing for Ukraine over the coming months. The combined total of support mobilized by the World Bank for Ukraine now stands at more than $925 million. As part of the mobilization efforts, Austria has contributed €10 million ($11 million equivalent) to the multi-donor trust fund (MDTF) set up by the World Bank to facilitate channeling grant resources from donors to Ukraine. This raises the current MDTF total to $145 million. “The ongoing war continues to have severe human costs and has created financing gaps that jeopardize the ability of vulnerable people in Ukraine to meet basic needs,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “This rapid support will help to bridge those gaps during a time of extreme disruption as we work on broader support efforts for Ukraine and the region.” While the full impact remains uncertain, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing a growing number of civilian casualties, destroying livelihoods, and damaging critical civilian infrastructure, including homes, water and sanitation, schools, health facilities and highways.
To save lives and livelihoods: boosting COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in Europe and Central Asia | Fadia Saadah | Elena, a 65-year-old grandmother in rural Romania, had been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Government-mandated restrictions in people’s movement had left her isolated and unable to visit the hospital for her routine physical exams. Elena had heard over the radio about a new vaccine, available at no cost, that held the promise of an end to this pandemic. Her children who live in the capital, Bucharest, had been vaccinated, but Elena had not. With the closest vaccination point being so far away, and with no family doctor in her community, the means to protect herself through a vaccine seemed out of reach.
Learning loss One Year After School Closures: Evidence from the Basque Country| Lucas Gortazar justpublished first learning loss paper in Spain for students in basic education, with very good data from one region: the Basque Country. They measure the period of school closures plus 6 months of reopening: from March 2020 to March 2021. Losses are smaller than in other countries (approximately half), of around 0.045 standard deviations, showing positive impact of reopening on learning recovery. Losses are larger for math. Most of the effect is driven by public schools (50% of the system) as opposed to semi-private charters (50% of the system). No major differences by socio-economic status.
Investing in Childcare Creates Long-Term Gains for Albania | Albania has made significant progress in bridging societal gender gaps but obstacles remain that impede women from reaching their full economic and social potential. Childcare is one such obstacle—critical for women’s ability to participate in the labor market and for children’s development.
Tackling the under-representation of women in STEM in CEE and Central Asia | March 8, 2022, is yet another International Women’s Day on which women remain under-represented in senior-level positions in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), while the gender pay gap remains glaring. However, there are also positive signs, as the CEE region continues to outperform much of Europe. Women in Central Asia meanwhile are also moving towards equality in the sector.According to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2022 report, around 2.4 billion working-aged women do not have access to equal economic opportunities, while 178 countries have been shown to maintain legal barriers that prevent full economic participation.Emerging Europe is no different. Estonia has Europe’s worst gender pay gap, according to Better Fund CEE, with a 21.7 per cent discrepancy in pay between men and women working similar roles and hours.In Latvia the gender pay gap is at 21.2 per cent, in Czechia 18.9 per cent, and Slovakia 18.4 per cent respectively…
Socioemotional Skills Development in Highly Violent Contexts: Measurements and Impacts | Non-cognitive skills can determine socioeconomic success and the transmission of economic status across generations. Yet, evidence of cost-effective interventions that aim to develop these skills for at-risk youth living in highly violent contexts is still scarce. This paper experimentally studies the social-emotional learning and protection components of an After School Program (ASP) for teenagers in the most violent neighborhoods of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. By combining administrative records and data gathered on-site via computer from task-based games and AI-powered emotion detection algorithms, this paper measures the ASP’s impacts on behavior, academic performance, and non-cognitive skills. To measure the learning component, 21 public schools were randomly assigned to extracurricular activities (Clubs), a psychology-based curriculum that aims to strengthen participants’ character (Mindful), or a mindfulness and relaxation technique program (Mindful). To estimate the protection component, 8 schools were selected as pure controls with a propensity score approach. Results show that the net learning component improved behavior at school by 0.46 standard deviations and reduced a proxy for stress by 0.45 standard deviations relative to the Clubs only ASP. These results were driven by the Virtue curriculum. Although the protection component negatively impacts social-emotional skills, it is, on average, more effective for students with worse behavior at baseline, indicating that the ASP curriculum and the characteristics of the population served are key in designing policies aimed at improving students’ behavior.