The world's first Humanitarian Impact Bond

Updated: Mar 6

Around 90 million people in the developing world suffer from a physical disability. Their condition is a barrier to accessing education or employment, giving them little to no chance of sustaining decent livelihoods, particularly in (post)-conflict areas. This results in social exclusion and long-term poverty for a segment of the population that is especially vulnerable.

It can be difficult for even the largest humanitarian organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to find funding for projects that help these people, considering the risks involved. That's where KOIS & its track record in innovative finance came to help.

Terms of the bond

  • Status: Launched in 2017

  • Countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and Nigeria

  • Target population: people with physical disabilities in post-conflict areas

  • Selected impact metrics: staff efficiency ratio (i.e number of beneficiaries having regained mobility per local rehabilitation professional)

  • Duration: 5 years

  • Amount: CHF 26M (US $27M)

  • Expected return: up to 7% IRR

  • Outcome funders: the Belgian, Swiss, British and Italian government, La Caixa Foundation

  • Investors: Munich Re and Lombard Odier

  • Service provider: the ICRC

The project

At its launch in September 2017, KOIS became part of innovative finance history by co-structuring the world’s first Humanitarian Impact Bond (HIB) together with the ICRC with the goal of funding rehabilitation centres for people with physical disabilities in post-conflict zones.

The Programme for Humanitarian Impact Investment (PHII) is a CHF 26 million (US $27 million) impact bond that will fund the construction of three innovative physical rehabilitation centres in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and Nigeria, the training of local staff, as well as the centres’ first two years of operations.

Besides being one of the largest impact bonds ever launched, it is also the first to operate in multiple countries. In addition, it is also the first impact bond that unites several European government development agencies and a large private foundation as outcome funders. This impact bond has been a landmark transaction that will hopefully drive further private investments towards underfunded humanitarian and development issues. Learn more about how this impact bond will deliver the expected impact in this video:

“As part of the structuring process of the HIB, we spent several days in a physical rehabilitation centre in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania supported by the ICRC's Special Fund for the Disabled. We had the opportunity to follow a little boy who came to the centre to receive two new trans-tibial mobility devices. We witnessed the dedication of the local teams - supported by the ICRC's orthopaedic and physiotherapy staff - during his journey at the centre. When the mobility devices were finalised, the little boy came back to the centre wearing his finest clothes. He eagerly put on his new mobility devices and frolicked all around the centre. He was beaming with pride and had a huge smile on his face - his dignity was restored. It was at this point that we realised how life-transforming it was for individuals suffering from physical disabilities in difficult contexts to have access to comprehensive rehabilitation services and how instrumental the HIB could be in increasing physical rehabilitation coverage in countries lacking the adequate infrastructure and human resources."

Marie-Elodie Bazy, Principal, KOIS Paris

The expected impact

Between 2017 & 2021, we expect this Impact Bond to deliver the following impact:

  • More than 3,600 disabled people served by the end of the impact bond if efficiency of centers increases by 80%

  • +94 to +122% - expected efficiency increase of centers relative to current regional benchmark averages (ICRC field estimations)

  • About 40,000 disabled people served over 20 years (expected lifetime of centers) if efficiency of centers remains the same

  • Increased access to education and mobility

  • Livelihoods improvement

  • Local economic growth

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