By combining our commitment to global peace and sustainable finance, we have created the ICO-impact initiative to create economic opportunities that help conflict-affected communities prosper.
All over the world communities are denied the means to participate in the determination of their own development. This experience of marginalisation exacerbates tensions, sustains underdevelopment and increases the likelihood of violent conflict. ICO is driven by a belief that conflict transformation can take place when communities, specifically systematically marginalised people, have improved access to the decision-making processes which affect their interests in society.
Therefore, ICO is working to support the peaceful social, economic and cultural development of marginalised groups.
ICO believes in a bottom approach. ICO believes that communities are best equipped to lead on conflict transformation planning and delivery.
ICO also recognises peace as a complex phenomenon that requires the transformation of systems rather than isolated projects, breaking down multiple barriers to peace and addressing the underlying causes of conflict and fragility that is needs to be led by experienced community actors. Their activities therefore work together to lead transformation and support the achievement of peace, reconciliation, and development. They facilitate dialogue, carry out capacity building and evidence-informed policy work.
Encouraging Inclusive Economic Opportunities
An important component of addressing underlying causes of conflict is placing close attention to economic inequalities between groups. Although a relationship can be observed between the likelihood of conflict and the lack of economic development, it is plagued by endogeneity. However, what is more easily observed is that inequality between groups leads to impoverished and disaffected people which exacerbates tensions between groups and towards the government.
Addressing inequalities requires intentional strategies to encourage economic opportunities across societal lines.
We know that business activities in conflict-affected areas, no matter how well intended, must be carefully considered. For one there is a lack of established standards and best practices for the involvement of the private sector in peace-building. Second, business activities in conflict-affected areas can exacerbate divisions and create harm if risks aren't properly concerned.
This is why we have developed the ICO-impact programme. Together we have developed a conflict-sensitive impact investment model.
We observe local dynamics and rely heavily on local engagement for contextual data to understand both the financial and social
considerations of a project. Second, we value companies, projects and the entrepreneurs that lead them that have a track record of positive impact on their local community through their product/services and operational activities. Lastly, we collaborate with industry and civic society actors locally to inform our decision-making process. The latter allows us to be responsive to the community and ensure participation.
Moreover, we create indicators of success with local stakeholders to create an impact blueprint that is based on grassroots knowledge, norms and metrics. We want to make that we fund companies and projects that accompany grassroots peace-building work.
Our Three Pillars
1. Financial Assistance
The ICO-Impact Programme is committed to impact investment, an intention that can potentially produce both financial profits and sustainable, assessable, and positive social or environmental value. For this reason ICO-Impact devotes funding to projects, companies or institutions whose activities are geared at improving the lives of their communities.
2. Capacity Building
Often the projects, companies and institutions that we work with require more than financial assistance, they require resources to successfully implement there strategic plans. This why we provide a pool of experts, who can support in project implementation, budget management, effective governance, strategic planning and civic outreach.
3. Events & Workshops
Private sector involvement in peace and conflict is a small but growing phenomenon. As a result, ICO-Impacts is committed to contributing to the conversation surrounding collaboration between NGO and impact investment to foster stability and cross-cultural collaboration. To do so we will hold annual events, big and small in different geographies and with stakeholders at all levels.