More Research Needed to Inform Social Protection policies and programmes in Africa

More Research Needed to Inform Social Protection policies and programmes in Africa

Social Protection (SP) is defined differently by different Social Protection actors such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), UNICEF, the World Bank and the African Union, depending on their areas of emphasis, targeting methods, or outcomes sought. The African Platform for Social Protection (APSP) defines Social Protection as a set of policies and programmes designed and implemented by the state and other stakeholders to reduce poverty and vulnerability by cushioning people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against shocks and interruption or loss of income, and promoting their ability to come out of poverty.

Background Since 2011, the APSP and its National Platforms worked closely with the national governments of various countries to develop SP policies and programmes. These included countries like Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Niger have developed Social Protection Policies or are at an advanced stage. The aim was to train and mentor various government and Civil Society Organizations’ staff on designing SP relevant policies. Part of the process also involved developing SP budget lines and costing them. During this period, APSP found out that there are very minimal reference materials on designing SP programmes and policies. Not many studies have been conducted on this front.

Approach and Results

The APSP provided information on Social Protection to National Platforms and other Social Protection stakeholders. The APSP served as a resource Centre for civil society, governments, development partners, research and academic institutions, providing regular information and evidence to support advocacy for Social Protection in Africa. The APSP in collaboration with National Platforms organized peer learning events in West, Southern, East and Central African Regions. At these events, experiences and best practices were shared. Each event had a different theme to help participants focus on emerging SP issues and learn how to include them in advocacy and practice. The APSP also undertook a study on Enhancing the Participation of CSOs in the fight to reduce poverty among the poor and vulnerable people in Africa as part of activities undertaken under the aegis of the AU Social Policy Framework. The study was conducted in Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya. The findings were presented at the Experts Meeting during the AU Conference of Ministers in Charge of Social Development held in Khartoum, Sudan.

Lessons Learnt

  • There is need to invest heavily on Social Protection research;
  • Governments and Civil Society Organizations should consider setting aside separate budgets for research in this area as well as set up specific research units;
    • Evidence from research strengthens the case for increased resource allocation in Social protection;
    • More studies on the role of social protection and impact on poverty reduction still required.


Even though there are programmes that exist on Social Protection and Poverty, there is
still very minimal research conducted in this area in Africa.

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