IDS Policy Briefing 167

How Social Protection Programmes Can Improve Early Childhood Development

Published on 20 March 2019

For 250 million children under the age of five in low- and middle-income countries, extreme poverty and stunting undermines their developmental potential. This puts children at risk of a lifetime of hardship, and remaining trapped in poverty.

Provision of economic support to families, in particular to mothers as the main carers for children, through comprehensive social protection programmes such as ‘graduation programmes’ may offer a ‘double boon’: it can improve early childhood development (ECD) in the short term and reduce poverty in the long run. Evidence from in-depth research in Haiti shows that supporting women to have sustainable livelihoods such as livestock rearing or market trading needs to go hand in hand with promoting a nurturing environment for their children to achieve positive impacts all round.

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Roelen, K. (2019) 'How Social Protection Programmes Can Improve Early Childhood Development', IDS Policy Briefing 167, Brighton: IDS

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Image of Keetie Roelen
Keetie Roelen

Research Fellow / Co-Director, Centre for Social Protection

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published by
Roelen, Keetie
English and Haitian Creole


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Research themes
Inequalities and Poverty

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