SMART NGO: Inside a Guide to Developing Child Sensitive Social Protection Programmes in Africa


SMART NGO: Inside a Guide to Developing Child Sensitive Social Protection Programmes in Africa


The Guide, jointly authored by Save the Children International (SCI) and the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP), reflects on the key steps to be considered in addressing specific needs of children and ensure that children are at the centre of social protection interventions in Africa


Nalishebo and Namonje enjoying their High Energy Protein supplement provided by Save the Children through the school feeding programme. Photo: Save the Children 

NAIROBI, Kenya: In 2015, Save the Children International (SCI) and the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) came together to build a common understanding of what Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) is and why it is needed.

The two organizations have now developed this guide to support the development, implementation and monitoring of Child Sensitive Social Protection policies, strategies and programmes.

The guide gives an understanding of child-sensitive social protection as  “Public policies, programmes and systems that address the specific patterns of children’s poverty and vulnerability, are rights based in approach and recognise the long term developmental benefits of investing in children” (Save the Children, International, 2020).

It reflects on the key steps to be considered in addressing specific needs of children and ensure that children are at the centre of social protection interventions in Africa.

Article 26 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) provides that every child has a right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, and that States shall take necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in accordance with national laws.

Further, Article 27 recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living that is adequate for a child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

The UNCRC also, in Article 32, protects children from economic exploitation and hazardous work. It calls for State parties to put measures in place, including: (a) Provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admission to employment; (b) Provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of employment; (c) Provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of this article.

At the regional level, Article 5 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child provides that every child has an inherent right to life, and that this right shall be protected by law. It further calls on state parties to the Charter to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival, protection and development of the child.

Recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals as a precursor to ending extreme poverty (Goal 1), the International Labour Organisation in its World Social Protection report infers that social protection plays a critical role in improving household incomes, decent work promotion and in achieving the sustainable development goals.

Increasingly, there is an emerging recognition that beyond income poverty, a much larger proportion of children are faced by multidimensional poverty, i.e. affected by more than one type of deprivation relating to education, health, shelter, water and sanitation, hence the need to enhance positive outcomes for children in social protection.

A majority of the 663 million multi-dimensionally poor children live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, and this is notably split equally between the two regions.

The recent Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) index, alluded to 63.5 percent of children in Sub-Saharan Africa being multi-dimensionally poor—the highest incidence among all developing regions.

The OPHI report specifically profiles countries such as Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Niger and South Sudan 90 percent or more of children under age 10 are multi-dimensionally poor.

This guide targets policy makers and implementers of social protection programmes, both in government as well as non-state actors who are initiating or strengthening their engagement with Child Sensitive Social Protection Initiatives.

The sole aim is to promote investment in improving the wellbeing of children. Everyone has a right to social security which remains the governments’ responsibility to fulfil.

This responsibility is especially critical to the most vulnerable members of the society including children.

Civil societies and NGOs have a role to complement government efforts through initiating policy development, and supporting policy implementation.

While jointly contributing to the Guide’s Preface, Ian Vale, Regional Director, Save the Children International and Dr. Tavengwa Nhongo Executive Director, Africa Platform for Social protection, said: “This document provides guidance on considerations in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of social protection interventions and programmes.

The guide aims at promoting social protection programmes to reach the most marginalised and vulnerable children.

This document does not purport to prescribe a one size fits all model for Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP), but offers tested rights based approaches and successful interventions for developing and implementing social protection programmes which are intended to yield positive outcomes for children.

Social protection and child poverty interventions in Africa region differ from one country to another. This document sets the tone for both introspective reflection and evaluation of social protection policies and programmes.

This guide abstains from providing a prescriptive model to child sensitive social protection, but rather provides a menu of options that are relevant to governments, development partners and civil society to begin to engage with CSSP and to advocate for CSSP in a rights based and child sensitive manner.

The processes outlined in this guide are designed to generate knowledge, awareness and recommendations on child sensitive social protection programs and are based on the common understanding of what child sensitive social protection is as described in this document.”

For detailed report, please open the attached Guide:


Lead image: Betty Epur, 9 yrs. Moroto, Karamoja, Uganda. Photo: Save the Children



The Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) ( is a pan African network of organizations operating at grassroots, national and regional levels, with a commitment to promoting and strengthening the social contract between states and citizens.

To achieve this, the APSP promotes active engagement of National Platforms in the shaping of Social Protection policies, programs, and practices in Africa. APSP has established 27 platforms to engage at the national level.

We are a Pan Africa NGO that works with governments, private sector, development agencies, research institutions and grassroots communities in Africa by designing, testing and delivering appropriate poverty alleviation models to the poor and underserved communities through social protection programs.

We create partnerships with civil society & other organizations to engage with Government & International Development Agencies (IDAs) to develop & Implement innovative social protection strategies & programmes that make a difference in poor and vulnerable households in Africa.

We exist to strengthen civil society engagements with state and non-state actors for effective service delivery in Social Protection.

For more information, please visit:


Smart Africa Media ( is a pan-African online media convergence platform, incorporating a Daily Newspaper, Digital TV, and soon to introduce Podcast to amplify pro-development and success stories across Africa and the Diaspora, to inspire investment and growth.

The multimedia outlet is cultivating smart partnerships, correspondences and audiences across Africa and the Diaspora, with a strong emphasis to deliver business and economic stories that are positive, constructive, and empowering.

In the process, we have secured Media Partnerships for the African Energy Chamber’s premier event African Energy Week 2021 ( in Cape Town, South Africa and with the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) (, to amplify Child Sensitive Social Protection Programmes (CSSP) in East and Southern Africa regions.

We also Collaborate with the APO Group (, to distribute Africa’s related positive news content.


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