Non-State Social Protection in Ethiopia: Characteristics, Governance and Policy Relevance

Authors: Amdissa, T., Adanech, D., Kasa, T., & Terefe Zeleke
Year: 2015
Type: Grantee publication – working paper

Non-state actors (NSAs) in Ethiopia play a vital role in providing social protection services to address poverty, inequality and vulnerabilities affecting livelihood. However, information about them, an essential component in planning, is scarce in both official records and in the literature, particularly for informal NSAs. This study aimed to map NSAs and their services and examine their governance, responsiveness to gender considerations and impact on policy formulation.

The study was conducted in Addis Ketema and Dire Dawa city administration, representing urban areas, and Welmera and Shinile, representing rural areas. The first phase mapped the NSAs while the second phase was an in-depth study of selected beneficiaries. A list of formal NSAs was compiled from a literature review; structured questionnaire interviews were undertaken during mapping and the in-depth study to obtain primary data. Beneficiary focus groups provided insight into NSA services. Data were analysed using SPSS software.

Of the 1,094 NSAs mapped, over 60 per cent were in urban centres. NSAs focused on livelihood promotion, and welfare, social and advocacy services. Their main beneficiaries were households affected during drought, orphans and vulnerable children, people living with HIV and AIDS, the elderly, people with disabilities and commercial sex workers. Up to 45 per cent of the beneficiaries received services from four or more NSAs.

Formal NSAs were categorised based on their funding sources. Most—but almost no informal NSAs—interacted with state institutions, which they considered beneficial for their performance. Few NSAs engaged in policy or rights advocacy. NSAs were responsive to gender considerations, with women accounting for slightly more than half of their beneficiaries. Gender balance in NSA staffing was poor, especially among managers.

The Ethiopian Government can strengthen NSAs capacity to deliver services by providing them with a conducive operating environment, engaging them in policy development, building their technical capacity and facilitating their networking and engagement for learning and information sharing.

Keywords: Ethiopia, social protection, non-state actors, policy relevance, gender, governance

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