Features, Governance Characteristics and Policy Implications of Non-State Social Protection in Africa

Project Status: Completed
Launched: April 2012

Social protection was selected as a research theme due to the apparent high level of priority placed on the issue by African governments, the donor community and regional intergovernmental bodies like the African Union (AU).  At the national level, social protection has been given attention in numerous plans and strategies.

To place social protection policy and research attention in perspective, PASGR commissioned a scoping paper from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).  The paper examined the extent of social protection research and policy interest across the region, and identified knowledge gaps and research opportunities potentially relevant to governance of social protection in Africa.

PASGR determined that one of the knowledge gaps is the need for better understanding of the scale and nature of “non-state” social protection.  A research project was subsequently developed as described in this framework paper, and PASGR invited interested African researchers to submit concept notes.  A series of policy briefs was developed from the findings in six African countries.

The project ‘Features, Governance Characteristics and Policy Implications of Non-State Social Protection in Africa’ had two concurrent objectives:

  • To enable researchers to build a clear picture of the scale and nature of non-state social protection in the countries researched.  This would help address an important knowledge gap, and enable researchers and policy actors to have a better sense of the range of actors, the nature of their activities, the beneficiaries and interaction with each other and with state actors.
  • To give researchers a unique opportunity to explore one or more specific governance aspects of non-state social protection they see as especially relevant to policy discourse in their respective country, in order to gain better understanding of the relationship between the institutional arrangements that govern social protection initiatives and performance – for both state and non-state initiatives.

The project was officially launched at a workshop in Nairobi in August 2012 where 12 research teams (selected from among 56 submissions) presented the concept of their research project for feedback from peers, resource persons and PASGR staff.  Ten of the 12 teams were offered a “seed grant” to develop a full research plan, after which a further selection process determined which nine projects would be funded to a maximum of USD 60,000 per team.