Graduation and Social Protection Conference

Tuesday 6 May 2014 - Thursday 8 May 2014
Kigali, Rwanda

About the conference

This 3 day international conference on Graduation and Social Protection was held in May 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. The purpose of the conference was to bring together policy-makers, practitioners and researchers, to review the state of knowledge and thinking on graduation and to explore how social protection can contribute to building resilient livelihoods for poor, vulnerable and food insecure people across the world.

The conference was co-hosted by the Ministry of Local Government in the Government of Rwanda, and the Centre for Social Protection at the UK Institute of Development Studies (IDS). Financial support for the conference was provided by Irish Aid, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Conference Rationale and Themes

‘Graduation’ refers to the point when people exit from a social protection programme, such as cash transfers or food aid, once it is considered that the participant no longer needs this support.

‘Graduation’ is increasingly an objective of social protection and rural livelihood programmes, not only because participants who exit a programme release resources for new participants, but also because the number of participants who move out of extreme poverty or food insecurity is regarded as an objective indicator of the programme's success.

Despite the trend towards delivering integrated packages of support on ‘graduation model’ programmes – typically, social assistance + assets + training + microfinance – there is no consensus on how to define graduation, either conceptually or operationally. There is also a limited evidence base on the scale of graduation, especially in Africa, and whether any graduation that occurs is sustainable over time. This conference therefore had two related aims: first, to advance our understanding of graduation in theory, and second, to collate and examine the evidence on graduation in practice.

The conference over the three days

To accompany the conference a blog series was released containing the thoughts of prominent thinkers attending the conference. These have been collected using Storify alongside audio recordings and photos.


Conference Organisation

  • Graduation Conference 2014 Final Programme
  • Graduation Conference 2014 List of Abstracts
  • Conference papers

    Conference presentations (in programme order)

    Please note these presentations are in pdf format

    Stephen Devereux's closing remarks

    Graduation and Social Protection Conference - Learning Insights and Action Points (pdf)