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.

Non-IDS publication

A Child-Sensitive Approach to Social Protection: Serving Practical and Strategic Needs

Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 20.3 (2012)

Social protection is increasingly considered a development success story. At the same time, it still does too little to account for social differentiation and to address vulnerability, as opposed to poverty. Child sensitive social protection has gained considerable momentum, particularly in a developing country context, raising questions about its concept and practical implications. More details

Group of women participating in the Productive Safety Net Programme, Ethiopia. Image credit: Mathan Ratinam/Parsons The New School for Design

The Centre for Social Protection: Transforming research and policy

This report provides a concise picture of CSP’s unique approach, key areas of work and accomplishments thus far. It aims to inform current and potential partners and stakeholders about who we are and how we work. More details

This is the cover for IDS Working Paper 395, 'Shocks and Social Protection in the Horn of Africa: Analysis from the Productive Safety Net Programme in Ethiopia'.

Shocks and Social Protection in the Horn of Africa: Analysis from the Productive Safety Net Programme in Ethiopia

IDS Working Paper 395 (2012)

Using panel data from the Ethiopian Productive Safety Net Program, this paper explores the degree to which this social protection programme has been successful in protecting its beneficiaries against the various shocks that have affected the Horn of Africa in the recent past. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Lessons Learned and Ways Forward - Pathways to Protection – Referral Mechanisms and Case Management for Vulnerable Children in Eastern and Southern Africa

There is a need for a more comprehensive and systematic response, of which referral mechanisms and case management are crucial elements. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Researching the Links Between Social Protection and Children's Care in Sub-Saharan Africa – A Concept Note

This research aims to help fill this gap by exploring the links between children’s care and social protection through an examination of these issues in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). More details

IDS publications on international development research

A Stocktaking Report - Pathways to Protection – Referral Mechanisms and Case Management for Vulnerable Children in Eastern and Southern Africa

Momentum is growing around the awareness that services for children need to be linked up and respond to each other. Referral mechanisms and case management are key to linking such services and strengthening systems for children. More details

IDS Research Summary

Lessons from Social Protection Programme Implementation in Kenya, Zambia and Mongolia (Research Summary)

IDS Research Summary of IDS Research Report 69 (2012)

This Research Report (conducted by the Centre for Social Protection at IDS with UNICEF) examines how social protection programming can interrupt the intergenerational transfer of poverty (IGT) through investments in human capital (education, health and nutrition), aiming to capture best practice and enhance lesson learning within a multilateral organisation (UNICEF). More details

IDS Working Paper

Social Protection in Myanmar: Making the Case for Holistic Policy Reform

IDS Working Paper 386 (2011)

Myanmar is a country with a very low per capita income and distressing failures in nutrition, health, education, and others areas of social development. More details

Non-IDS publication

Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar: Zanzibar Social Protection Policy

This policy report offers an in-depth analysis of the Zanzibar Social Protection Policy, as well as mapping poverty and vulnerability on the island. More details

front cover of the the publication 'Social Protection and Climate Resilience'

Social Protection and Climate Resilience

Report from an international workshop Addis Ababa, March 14-17, 2011 More details

This is the cover of IDS Bulletin 42.6, 'Social Protection for Social Justice'.

Social Protection for Social Justice

IDS Bulletin 42.6 (2011)

The articles in this IDS Bulletin are drawn from a conference hosted by the Centre for Social Protection at IDS in April 2011. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Politics of Citizenship: Experiencing State-Society Relations from the Margins

Contemporary South Asia 19.3 (2011)

This introduction discusses the articles in this Special Issue, which are all focused on exploring the everyday interactions between marginalised individuals and groups and the state in contemporary India. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Designing Social Protection as an Effective and Sustainable Investment

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 17 (2011)

Social protection is a dynamic and innovative response to poverty and vulnerability. More details

Social Protection and Socioeconomic Security in Nepal

Social Protection and Socioeconomic Security in Nepal

IDS Working Paper 370 (2011)

Nepal, with a population of 27.6 million people, is a ‘least developed country’ in many ways. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transforming Livelihoods for Resilient Futures: How to Facilitate Graduation in Social Protection Programmes

The vision for graduation rests on the assumption of the existence of a large population of low-productivity, risk-prone and often poor households. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transformative Social Protection Programming for Children and their Carers: a Gender Perspective

Gender & Development 19.2 (2011)

Although social protection has gained substantial attention in recent years as a development measure and long-term response to poverty and vulnerability, it is also being increasingly criticised for failing to pay adequate attention to differences between social groups and the different problems they face in terms of access and take-up of provisions and services. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Interactions of ‘Power’ in the Making and Shaping of Social Policy

Contemporary South Asia 19.2 (2011)

This paper focuses on the interactions of power as analysed through the formulation story of a recently enacted social policy, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), India. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Lessons from the Children and AIDS Regional Initiative (CARI): Child and HIV Sensitive Social Protection in Eastern and Southern Africa

This documentation explores child- and HIV-sensitive social protection implemented under the umbrella of CARI in five of nine selected countries within the Eastern and Southern Africa region (ESAR): Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Tanzania. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Migration and Social Protection: Claiming Social Rights Beyond Borders

In a time of increasing migration, citizenship as a form of classificationhas come to assume the kind of importance once reserved for other kinds of discriminatory and exclusionary classifications of status. Although citizenship has many other aspects, for migrants its primary significance is the extent to which it enables them to gain access to a territory and to rights within it. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Marginality, Agency and Power: Experiencing the State in Contemporary India

Pacific Affairs 84.1 (2011)

The idea of the state has shown remarkable resilience over the last couple of decades, despite assaults on it from neoliberal doctrines and the forces of globalization. During this period, the abiding presence and role of the state has been particularly evident in the contemporary political life of the Asia Pacific region. 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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