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Human Development Network

The Human Development Network (HDN) is the World Bank's home for policy, programs, and research in the fields of education, health, and social protection and labor. The HDN Chief Economist's Office supports evaluations and training measure program impact and improve service delivery.

Primary School Student in Honduras

HDN's mission is to invest in creating equal opportunities for people to live healthy, productive lives, secure meaningful jobs, and protect themselves from crises.  HDN takes a lifecycle and systems approach to help developing countries deliver equitable and effective health, education, and social protection services from pregnancy to old age.  HDN works across all development sectors and with Ministries of Finance to demonstrate how these investments in people promote inclusive development, economic growth, and country competitiveness. The strategic focus of HDN's work in each sector is:

  • Education – Learning for All: Achieve the education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and raise learning outcomes, especially in basic education; invest early by scaling up support for early childhood development to improve the readiness of children for a lifetime of learning; invest smartly by improving the capacity of education systems to deliver learning and skills development for jobs; and invest for all with targeted approaches to reach the most disadvantaged groups.
  • Health – Healthy Development: Build equitable health systems to save lives, achieve the health MDGs, and promote healthy, productive citizens and workers; expand affordable, quality basic health coverage and prevent poverty due to illness; and link financing to results, and improve the health sector’s contribution to better macroeconomic and fiscal performance.
  • Social Protection and Labor – Resilience, Equity, Opportunity:  Protect people, especially the poorest, so they can cope with risks and poverty and access opportunities, by moving from fragmented social protection programs to harmonized systems that deliver income protection and improved nutrition and education; expand safety nets and other social protection coverage to the poorest people and countries, and to excluded groups; ensure that social protection systems can respond quickly to shocks or crisis; and increase focus on securing access to better jobs.

In each of the three sectors, HDN staff focus on results through building strong, integrated systems and country capacity; promoting evidence-based policy and program decision-making; and leveraging global and country partnerships with development partners, civil society organizations, and the private sector.




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