How can the World Bank’s procurement department improve its approach to child SEA/H prevention and response?

To clarify how the World Bank’s procurement department can and should prevent and respond to child sexual exploitation and harassment (SEA/H), BIC has developed a briefing note. The note aims to increase civil society's knowledge around how the Bank engages in the procurement process and provides recommendations to strengthen the Bank’s approach to addressing child SEA/H when working with its contractors.

Preventing and responding to child sexual exploitation and harassment (SEA/H) in World Bank projects requires action from across the institution. The procurement department plays a particularly important role in this due to the fact that it sets and oversees the terms and conditions under which borrowing governments hire contractors to carry out any works financed by the Bank. It is often employees of the contractor that perpetrate child SEA/H in and around Bank-funded projects, making it critical that the procurement department prioritize child SEA/H prevention and response in their policies, bidding documents, and engagement with contractors. 

In the wake of the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project, and following the Bank’s Gender-Based Violence Task Force’s recommendations, the procurement department took a more active role in combating SEA/H, including setting up a new contractor disqualification mechanism. However, the procurement documents still do not address the particular needs of children, and it is critical that the procurement department act to include well designed measures to specifically address child SEA/H and other child protection needs.

For further information on procurement and child SEA/H, read our briefing note here.