Person: Willman, Alys M.
Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Violence prevention; gender-based violence; youth violence; illicit economies; urban violence
Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated: January 31, 2023
Alys Willman, PhD, is a Social Development Specialist for the Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team at the World Bank, taking responsibility for analytical and project work on urban violence, youth violence and gender-based violence. She is the co-author of Violence in the City (World Bank 2011), and Societal Dynamics and Fragility (World Bank 2012), as well as various other books and articles on urban violence, youth violence, and illicit economies. Ms. Willman has worked over a dozen countries throughout Latin America, Africa and East Asia, with NGOs, bilateral agencies and the World Bank.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
PublicationSocietal Dynamics and Fragility : Engaging Societies in Responding to Fragile Situations(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-01) Marc, Alexandre; Willman, Alys; Aslam, GhaziaThe objective of the study reported in this book was to understand how societal dynamics can be mobilized toward a convergence across groups in society and thus toward greater social cohesion overall. The team began with an extensive consultation phase to identify some key societal dynamics that seemed important in understanding fragility. The German Development Cooperation (GIZ) was a key partner in the study, providing support to the analytical phase in the form of a background paper, and technical advice throughout the preparation of the report. The team continued to consult with these experts throughout the fieldwork and the writing of the book. This book reports a study about societal relationships in fragile situations. Drawing on relevant literature and fieldwork in five countries, it suggests that fragility, violent conflict, and state failure are functions not only of state inability or unwillingness to perform core tasks, but also of dysfunctional relationships in society that do not permit a state to be formed or sustained. The present chapter has introduced the problem of fragility and suggested that seeing fragility as a problem of relationships in society can lead to more effective interventions in fragile situations. Chapter two turns to a key area of societal relations, the state society relationship in fragile situations. Chapter three begins a conversation about social cohesion in fragile situations. It suggests a critical element of social cohesion: a convergence across groups in society. Chapter four discusses how perceptions of injustice across groups can deepen divisions and hinder coexistence and collective action. Many times such perceptions can be even more influential than measurable differences across groups (such as income inequality) in fomenting resentment and division. Chapter five then takes up the issue of interactions between institutions in fragile situations. It is suggested that social cohesion contributes to more constructive interactions among institutions, increasing their capacity to realize development goals. Chapter six shifts the focus to certain relationships in society that are particularly important for social cohesion. Chapter seven describes an overall approach to policy and programming, including how to conduct research and develop knowledge from this perspective. Chapter eight offers specific orientations for adapting existing tools and instruments to address the societal bases of fragility. PublicationInterpersonal Violence Prevention : A Review of the Evidence and Emerging Lessons(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2011) Willman, AlysAcknowledges how development is held back by violence, especially high levels of interpersonal violence that includes harmful acts of gangs and domestic violence. Chronic, high rates of such violence deter investment, erode social cohesion, limit access to employment and educational opportunities, drain state resources, and threaten governance at various levels. Violence is an important signal of fragility, because it indicates the breakdown of state capacity to provide basic security, and of societal capacity to impose social controls on violent behavior. Risk factors for increasing violence include high unemployment, a history of conflict, rapid urbanization, high inequality, trafficking in weapons and drugs, and institutional fragility. Violent behavior may offer opportunities for physical, social and economic mobility. Gender-based violence is related to both criminal and political violence. Factors for prevention are linked to community and family connection, early intervention, and local government intervention programs like community policing. Because various types of violence overlap, more integrated approaches present the most effective means for prevention while avoiding duplication of efforts. PublicationTrends in crime and violence in Papua New Guinea(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-05) Lakhani, Sadaf; Willman, Alys M.Crime and violence are widely viewed as posing a considerable challenge to development in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The full scale of crime and violence in PNG is difficult to assess, given the scarcity of national-level studies and a distinct urban bias in the available studies. Yet various commentators and surveys estimate that violence victimization rates in PNG are among the highest in the world. This briefing note presents some preliminary findings regarding the prevalence of crime and violence in PNG. It was prepared as part of a broader study to understand the socioeconomic costs of crime and violence to businesses, government agencies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and households in PNG. The different data sources reviewed and the most significant challenges with the data available are noted in Annex 1. The challenges in partial data and questions concerning the methodology used for collecting and collating some of the data sets and data integrity call for some caution in interpreting the findings, in particular making generalizations about the wide diversity of provincial experiences on the basis of geographically limited data sets.