Centre for Social Protection

Social protection is a set of policies and programmes that reduce poverty and provide a safety net for the poorest and most marginalised people and communities. 

Woman and family on steps

The Centre for Social Protection (CSP) supports a global network of partners working to mainstream social protection in development policy and encourage social protection systems and instruments that are comprehensive, long-term, sustainable and pro-poor.

CSP produces research on conceptual approaches; design issues, including delivery, targeting and affordability; and impacts of different social protection initiatives, on the themes of climate change adaptation; conflict, food security and agriculture, health, microfinance and migration. The CSP is also the home of the Adaptive Social Protection programme.

Mark Davies from the Centre explains what social protection is and how it can make a difference to the lives of poor people.


Sign up to the CSP quarterly newsletter on social protection research and useful resources including publications, events, vacancies and contacts: socialprotection@ids.ac.uk

Photo of Deepta Chopra, IDS Governance and Gender / Sexuality Research Fellow More details

Photo of Deepta Chopra, IDS Governance and Gender / Sexuality Research Fellow More details

Photo of Dolf te Lintelo More details

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Jeremy Lind More details

Photo of Keetie Roelen, Research Fellow in the Centre for Social Protection, IDS More details

Photo of Elizabeth O'Brien More details

Photo of Martin Greeley, IDS Research Fellow More details

Photo of Rachel Sabates Wheeler More details

Photo of Richard Longhurst, a Research Associate More details

Photo of Stephen Devereux, IDS Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Research Fellow More details

Photo of Vivienne Benson, Administrator, Globalisation Team More details

EuropeAid - Assistance in Social Transfers

The European Commission's Advisory Service in Social Transfers' project (ASiST) aims to increase the contribution of social transfers to addressing food and nutrition security. The project gives advisory services as requested by EU delegations. These services include building capacity for the design of social transfer programmes, developing a body of knowledge and supporting the policy dialogue. More details

Where next for social protection?

This project will examine the future of social protection and the major issues and debates that are likely to dominate thinking around these issues in the next 5-10 years. More details

Beneficiary and service providers’ perceptions assessment of the Integrated Nutrition and Social Cash Transfer (IN-SCT) Pilot, Ethiopia

The Centre for Social Protection at IDS, in collaboration with Rebret Business and Consultancy, has been asked by UNICEF Ethiopia to undertake a study assessing beneficiary and service provider perceptions and feedback of the Integrated Nutrition – Social Cash Transfer (IN-SCT) pilot in Ethiopia. This represents a qualitative study focusing on programme implementation and impact, particularly focusing on nutrition. More details

Set of Studies on Social Protection in Low- and Middle-Income Countries with Special Focus on Ghana

The Centre for Social Protection at IDS, UNICEF Office of Research, UNICEF Ghana and the University of Ghana are collaborating on a set of joint papers tackling topical issues in social protection. These include urban social protection, social accountability and citizenship and ‘cash plus’ models. More details

Research and 'Think Piece' on Opportunities for WFP Engagement in the Global Social Protection Arena

The WFP has contracted IDS to develop a think-piece examining the nexus of food security, nutrition and safety nets and social protection that will support the Safety Nets and Social Protection unit take shape and that will refine the areas of WFP’s corporate and global engagement. This will build on the work of the High Level Panel of Experts on Social Protection for Food Security. More details

Designing a Grievance Mechanism and Exit Strategy for Zimbabwe's Harmonized Social Cash Transfer Programme

In 2011 the Ministry of Public Services, Labor and Social Welfare, Government of Zimbabwe (MPSLSW) launched a social cash transfer programme, known as the Harmonised Social Cash transfer (HSCT) for labour constrained extremely poor households. The Centre for Social Protection has been commissioned to design a grievance mechanism and an options paper for responsible exit of the HSCT. More details

Save the Children: How can social protection better respond to child poverty in Nepal?

Nepal has expanded its investment in social protection over the last few years, with a National Framework for Social Protection drafted in 2011. However, the impact of social protection generally and on children is compromised by challenges in coverage, implementation and delivery. Save the Children commissioned IDS to assess how social protection addresses child poverty in Nepal in order to inform their advocacy at the national level. More details

Accelerating Progress in Reducing Hunger and Undernutrition

This programme will focus on how agriculture can deliver better nutrition outcomes by developing evidence-based policy options and tools for businesses, governments, NGOs and donors. More details

Researching the Links between Social Protection and Children’s Care

This project aims to investigate the links between social protection and children's care. More details

Scoping Social Protection in the Middle East and North Africa

The Cairo Regional Bureau of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Centre for Social Protection at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex conducted a scoping study of social protection programmes in the Middle East and North Africa region. More details

Social Cash Transfer Programme Zambia

To develop an innovative methodology that rigorously engages with the views, experiences and perceptions of cash transfer programme beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, and also explores the wider social and political impacts of social cash transfer programmes. More details

Changes in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) in East Africa: Evidence, Synthesis and Data Mapping

IDS have been commissioned by DfID to draw from the relevant literature and datasets on poverty, vulnerability, livelihoods and resilience in the ASALs to identify priority, long-term evidence-gaps, and make recommendations on research and data collection approaches and methodologies. More details

High Level Panel of Experts Report on Social Protection and Food Security

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested the HLPE to produce a report, to be presented at the 39th Session of the CFS, a study on social protection and food security. More details

Technical Assistance for the Development of Social Protection Strategy in Swaziland

In November 2012, UNDP, UNICEF and WFP organised a high-level social protection policy dialogue with the Government of Swaziland and other development partners. Subsequently, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) appointed a technical committee to develop a Joint UN Programme for Social Protection in Swaziland. The ultimate objective of the national dialogue was to generate background material towards developing a draft national policy and strategy on social protection. More details

Burundi Graduation Programme Evaluation

In December 2012, Concern Burundi launched its 'Graduation Model Programme' in two provinces in Burundi to work with extremely poor and marginalised communities. More details

CSP Conference April 2011: Social Protection for Social Justice

The Centre for Social Protection hosted a conference titled ‘Social Protection for Social Justice’ at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, 13-15 April 2011. More details

Child Vulnerability Assessment, UNICEF Myanmar

IDS has been commissioned to analyse the most recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data and write a report on child vulnerability, which can be utilized for evidence based programming and advocacy to improve children's status in Myanmar. More details

Impact Evaluation for the UNICEF SCT Project in Oromia and SNNPR

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is collaborating with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to conduct an impact evaluation of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme in Oromia and SNNP Regions of Ethiopia for UNICEF Ethiopia. More details

Enhancing the Productive Capacity of Extremely Poor People in Rwanda - Evaluation

IDS led the evaluation of the Concern Worldwide graduation programme in Rwanda ‘Enhancing the Productive Capacity of Extremely Poor People’. More details

Understanding the Social Protection Implications of Changing Demographics in Rwanda

In order to inform discussions of social protection policy options in the short-, medium-, and long-term, this study collected and analysed both quantitative and qualitative data on the experiences of older people in Rwanda, along with the wider literature and evidence base from the region and beyond. It also undertook a detailed policy simulation exercise to assess both the needs of older people and the impact of policy options. More details

View all Research Programme's publications

Use this search to display this programme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.

IDS publications on international development research

Beyond Averages: Child Well-being in Kazakhstan

Journal of Children and Poverty 20.2 (2014)

Although detailed assessments of poverty and well-being are crucial for formulating adequate policies, all too often such assessments focus on average outcomes. In this paper we present an analysis of child well-being for Kazakhstan that moves beyond averages in two ways. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Universal Truths or Hidden Realities - Chronic Poverty in Rural Ethiopia

Journal of International Development 26.7 (2014)

This paper uses quantitative and qualitative data collected by Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty, to identify factors that contribute to households becoming or remaining poor in rural Ethiopia. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Researching the Linkages between Social Protection and Children’s Care in Ghana

This report investigates the links between child wellbeing, children's care, family cohesion and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP). The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), a national social protection scheme, aims to reduce extreme poverty in the country and is centred on providing cash transfers to the most vulnerable. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transforming Social Protection: Human Wellbeing and Social Justice

The European Journal of Development Research 26.3 (2014)

This article calls for a moment of pause to consider the current direction of social protection thinking and practice. It introduces a special issue in which a range of authors explore the relationship between social protection and social justice. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Researching the Linkages Between Social Protection and Children’s Care in Rwanda

This research investigates the links between the Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP), child well-being, children's care and family reunification. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Sticks or Carrots? Conditional Cash Transfers and Their Effect on Child Abuse and Neglect: Researchers Observe Both Benefits and Harms of CCT Programs

Child Abuse & Neglect 38.3 (2014)

In recent years, conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs have gained unprecedented popularity in the fight against poverty, and can now be found across the globe. Experience is most long-standing and widespread in Latin America, with almost every country in the region running a CCT program. More details

Teaser image for Policy Briefing 49

Towards Gender Equality with Care-sensitive Social Protection

IDS Policy Briefing 49 (2014)

Unpaid care work and social protection are intrinsically linked. In order to address this challenge, policies must recognise the value of women’s work, shift the burden of care work away from women and families and improve access to the vital services that will help improve women and girls’ wellbeing. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 431, 'Evaluating Outside the Box: An Alternative Framework for Analysing Social Protection Programmes'.

Evaluating Outside the Box: An Alternative Framework for Analysing Social Protection Programmes

IDS Working Paper 431 (2013)

The evidence base on social protection programmes is expanding rapidly, largely pointing towards their positive impacts. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Sustainable Graduation from Social Protection Programmes

Development and Change 44.4 (2013)

Efforts to reduce extreme poverty by assisting poor people to cross income or asset thresholds are receiving increasing attention in social protection programming. More details

State Provision of Social Protection to International Migrants: The Relevance of Social Protection Frameworks

IDS Working Paper 424 (2013)

How relevant are social protection frameworks to understanding the provision of social protection to international migrants? More details

This is the image for IDS Policy Briefing 34, 'Evaluating Social Protection Policies: Lessons from Brazil'.

Evaluating Social Protection Policies: Lessons from Brazil

IDS Policy Briefing 34 (2013)

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is considered a valuable mechanism for improving the quality of public policy and has become politically important for policymakers. More details

This is the image for an In Focus Policy Briefing.

Making the Most of Resilience

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 32 (2013)

Resilience is becoming a hot topic. The increasing interest it is attracting in the development community offers an opportunity for designing and implementing more effective forms of intervention. More details

Banking on Food: The State of Food Banks in High-income Countries

IDS Working Paper 415 (2013)

Food banks provide food to charities and other grassroots organisations for supporting vulnerable populations. As such, they tend to complement more institutionalised, state-provided safety net programmes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Trajectories of Social Protection in Africa

Development Southern Africa 30.1 (2013)

Social protection in contemporary Africa is the product of several strands of social policy, from European social security systems to humanitarian relief interventions. This article argues instead for a ‘social contract’ approach. More details

Non-IDS publication

Poverty, Vulnerability and Social Protection in Zanzibar: An Overview

This policy report reviews the status of poverty and vulnerability in Zanzibar, as well as the social protection responses. More details

Equal Opportunities for All? – A Critical Analysis of Mexico’s Oportunidades

IDS Working Paper 413 (2012)

In this paper we challenge the theory of change behind the Mexican Conditional Cash Transfer Programme Oportunidades, by questioning whether it sufficiently addresses the structural factors that prevent its poorest group of beneficiaries, indigenous people, from climbing out of poverty. More details

Non-IDS publication

Evaluation Of The Social Cash Transfers Pilot Programme Tigray Region, Ethiopia

In 2011, the Regional Government of Tigray, with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), introduced the Social Cash Transfer Pilot Program (SCTPP) in two woredas, Abi Adi and Hintalo Wajirat. This report, is based on quantitative data collected at the individual, household, and tabia level in May-June 2012 and qualitative data collected using key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory appraisal activities in July-August 2012. More details

This is the image for an In Focus Policy Briefing.

Realising the Potential of Adaptive Social Protection

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 28 (2012)

The concept of Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) – an approach that promotes greater integration between Social Protection, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction to make a meaningful contribution towards sustainable development – is well understood. More details

This is the image for an In Focus Policy Briefing.

Making Social Protection ‘Climate-Smart’

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 27 (2012)

Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) aims to reduce the vulnerability of poor people to a range of shocks and ongoing stresses through the integration of social protection (SP), climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). More details

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Transformative Graduation?

04 Feb 2013
By Stephen Devereux

Social protection: asking too much of the individual?

05 Dec 2012
By Keetie Roelen, (incomplete)
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