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social protection and its challenges

January 13, 2011


The new Poverty in Focus by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth at UNDP is entitled “Long-term social protection for inclusive growth”. It is an interesting collection of articles on social protection programmes in different countries, their lessons learned and challenges ahead. Social protection is a hot topic and is increasingly being considered an integral element to the development response in developing countries. It is no longer exclusive to the discussion in developed countries or considered something only affordable in the “rich” countries. The various examples in this Poverty in Focus from Botswana, Malawi, Indonesia and others give a good introduction into and impression of the range of programmes and project out there and what might be available and feasible in middle- versus low-income countries and with different levels of financial and technical capacity.

This particular edition of Poverty in Focus also resonates well with a current project that I am leading at IDS and the Centre for Social Protection. This weekend, my colleague and I will be travelling to Malawi to study programmes and project with a particular focus on child- and HIV-sensitive social protection. In addition to social protection increasingly becoming part of the wider development agenda, it is also considered useful in more particular contexts and to form part of the HIV response or support children affected by HIV. As such, the Children and AIDS Regional Initiative in Eastern and Southern Africa by UNICEF supported various programmes and projects in 9 different countries across the region to support vulnerable children affected by HIV through a wide range of social protection initiatives. Our task will be to document the achievements, lessons learned and challenges ahead in 5 different countries, starting with Malawi. Particular questions that we will focus on in this country relate to the links between the myriad of programmes and projects supported by many different agencies, organizations and donors and the sustainability of such projects. One particular programme that we will visit and document, are the Children’s Corners that provide care and support for vulnerable children. A quick internet search on “children’s corners” in Malawi learns that we will not be the first to visit and learn from this initiative.

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