This document collection is aimed at providing information on policies for poverty reduction, one of the key areas in the area of social policy development. The focus is on evidence-based policy development and the information is intended to support the policy making community in the development of effective policies.

Related publications

Policy brief which argues that development is not only a matter of technocratic solutions prescribed by international organizations. Increasing development effectiveness means including in the process of policy making the perspectives of those who are most in need of aid. Informed public debate helps identify problems, find feasible solutions, and build consensus around them. Economic prescriptions and political initiatives, such as poverty programs, may not have the desired effects because they do not take cultural circumstances into account. The poorest and most disadvantaged groups are most often excluded from dialogue about how to improve their lives. Instead, development and government technocrats prescribe solutions that do not always fit the local contexts of the poor. Including the poor in the development dialogue means broadening the base of knowledge and experience on which decisions are founded. Inclusion helps target programs better, tailor solutions to those in need, and build agency for the poor—all of which may help them improve their position culturally, politically, and eventually in the economic system. Equal agency needs to add to equal opportunity to sustainably alleviate poverty (Rao and Sanyal 2010)

Policy brief with key messages from UNIEF's recent report, Combating poverty & inequality: Structural change, social policy and politics which attempts to explain how poverty reduction depends crucially on the interconnections among economic development, social policy and politics. Argues that there is a need for new directions in macroeconomic policy and structural change to generate decent employment.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI is an international poverty measure developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) for the United Nations Development Programme’s flagship Human Development Report. The innovative index reflects the multiple deprivations that a poor person faces with respect to education, health and living standards. This brief summarises the method and key findings for 2011 and shows how the MPI can be used.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of poverty. Covering 109 developing countries, the MPI complements income poverty and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) measures by reflecting the acute deprivations that people face at the same time. It identifies people who contend with multiple deprivations across three dimensions: education, health, and living standards.

This brief captures a short intervention at the 2005 Public Service Day teleconference organised by the South African Department of Public Service and Administration.

Issue 4 of the newsletter focuses on the issue of violent crime in South Africa. The newsletter aims to stimulate debate around evidence-based policy-making. To contribute to future editions plesae send your submissions to [email protected]­.

Aims to uncover ­events leading people into poverty and those which help them escape.
A policy brief which links poverty status at birth, poverty persistence, and adult outcomes.
Issue Three of the PAN newsletter focuses on the interface between child-centred evidence and related policy. It features a range of resources that illustrate how child-focused data and research evidence can contribute to and inform better outcomes for children when formulating social policy.
Policy note using using various rounds of the FIES and APIS as panel data sets to guide the government in formulating interventions for different groups of households, especially the chronic and transient poor.­
Argues that the current focus on policies ­for poverty alleviation should give way to the global politics of welfare state rebuilding.
The second in a series of papers aimed at strengthening the understanding of policy makers and citizens on the implications of social protection programmes for the achievement of poverty reduction and broader social development.
­Download the following policy briefs from the University of Stellenbosch's Departrment of Economics:

­For richer, for poorer? Can lessons learnt from wealthy schools be applied to help poor schools deliver better results?
The role of educational attainment and quality schooling in reducing racial earnings inequality
Identifying policy priorities to improve outcomes for poor primary school learners
The vital role of good school management in improving primary school outcomes
New evidence in the case for improving the quality of secondary school learning outcomes­­

An HSRC policy brief on Millennium Development Goals relating to water, sanitation, education and health challenges facing the Southern African Development Community.
A series of nine policy briefs on policy development and analysis aimed at breaking the cycle of mental ill­-health and poverty.
Executive summary of a report on a wide range of migration's impacts on development, including poverty reduction in developing countries.
A summary which is part of initial findings from an ongoing review of progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals.
Research summary of a paper which aims to identify different ways of assessing the impact of ‘policy-oriented’ development research.
Considers whether the Bolsa Família programme increases school enrolment, reduces dropout rates and improves grades.

This article investigates inequalities in children’s schooling in South Africa in 2008 using community-based data collected by the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). ­

­Policy brief which argues that a universal income grant would be a powerful intervention for radically reducing the depth and scale of impoverishment, and for enhancing ­liberty.
­A multi-year plan with four goals: enable and reward work, invest in households in need, focus on children, and coordinate and collaborate.
Focuses on policies and programmes that have been successful in reducing extreme forms of poverty.
One in a series of policy briefs drawn from the Poverty and Human Development Report 2009, Government of Tanzania­.
Policy brief suggesting­ that current conventional policy approaches to poverty eradication are insufficient and require serious rethinking by policy makers.

This document features some of the most notable innovations, lessons learned and good practices from UNICEF’s 2009 and 2010 programme reporting, incorporating updated information and results obtained as of late 2011. They are presented here to highlight innovative initiatives of UNICEF and its country-level partners and to share lessons learned and good practices identified in working to reach the most deprived children and families.

This handbook provides Members of Parliament with information on children’s issues and their rights. Its purpose is to equip MPs with the tools to integrate a child-rights perspective into all work that Members engage with.

Reviews international good practice for using data in policymaking and develops a conceptual framework for characterising and classifying the different elements of a data strategy for public sector orga­nisations.
A series of guidance sheets on what drives chronic poverty policy processes which could be adapted to other social and economic policies.
A new poverty ­measure that goes beyond income by reflecting a range of deprivations that afflict a person’s life at the same time, released in advance of the report's October 2010 publication.
A free, online, interactive tool, which maps and graphs more than 175 indicators from the World Bank’s development database.
A handbook designed for parliamentarians in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the role of social transfers as a specific social protection policy instrument for reducing chronic poverty and inequality and for promoting inclusive, or pro-poor, economic growth.
In the final issue of the PAN newsletter for 2011 ­we look at how the evaluation of government programmes can be invaluable in improving performance and service delivery.
A presentation outlining approaches to achieving research-based­ policies.

This is the first edition of the Policy > Action Network newsletter, From Evidence to Action, published with support from the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD), a partnership between the Presidency and the Eu­ropean Union.­

A conceptual framework to be used in the production of case studies which identify factors that help or hinder rigorous impact evaluations from influencing policy.
The main purpose of this handbook is to facilitate the investment process of a public research institute in developing a system (from the simplest to the most sophisticated) of monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and knowledge management (KM) of the impact of research on public policy.
A call for proposals for systematic reviews to strengthen international capacity for pro-poor evidence-based policy making.
­Outlines a partipatory policy process that can be adapted to each country and the specific aspect of land policy that needs to be addressed.
Aims to provide analytical tools and resources to assist analysts and managers with policy development or service-planning projects.
Explores six key areas of the knowledge–development policy interface, aiming to stimulate nuanced debates and the development of tools for knowledge translation.
Sets out the key issues to consider when designing and managing evaluations, and the presentation and interpretation of evaluation results. Describes why thinking about evaluation before and during the policy design phase can help to improve the quality of evaluation results without needing to hinder the policy proce­ss.
Call for the development of a course which will improve  organizational capacity to influence public policies in developing countries - deadline 23 January 2011
A case book aimed at ensuring­ that managers are using evidence to make decisions and development stakeholders are able to keep track of progress.

This report presents the results of the first qualitative assessment of the Child Support Grant undertaken in 2010 in South Africa. The study was commissioned and funded by the Department of Social Development, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and UNICEF South Africa.

The paper begins by documenting the historical context for current cash transfer programmes. It goes on to look at evidence concerning the aggregate impact of these cash transfers on poverty levels. Thereafter, it reviews the literature that has attempted to rigorously evaluate the impact of the cash transfers on specific socio-economic outcomes and on behaviour. Given this evidence, the paper concludes by looking at the feasibility and appropriateness of introducing conditionalities into what is currently an unconditional cash transfer programme.

This report presents the findings of a research team’s analysis of a specially designed survey fielded in rural and urban areas of 5 South African provinces, supporting the rigorous impact assessment of how access to the CSG affects key aspects of child and adolescent well-being.  Also refer to the executive summary and the policy brief, South Africa’s Child Support Grant: Overall findings from an integrated qualitative-quantitative evaluation

The ­Grameen Foundation website highlights successful microfinancing case studies in a number of countries, and how these were implemented. Note information on the Progress out of Poverty Index.
­A study carried out in 15 countries, which attempts to analyse mobility out of poverty rather than poverty alone.
Call for proposals to conduct a series of case studies to identify factors that contribute to or impede evidence from rigorous impact evaluations to influence policy(deadline is 28 February 2011).
­This database provides policymakers and practitioners with easy access to systematic reviews that examine evidence on the effects of social and economic development interventions in low- and middle-income countries. It draws together systematic reviews from a range of sources and covers all sectors.
A work in progress looking at issues from the perspective of poor rural people, ­aiming to provide policy-relevant inputs for developing pro-poor agendas at all levels.
A helpdesk research report which provides an overview of the role of cooperatives in pro-poor aid interventions and development, and identifies­ donor approaches and lessons learned in supporting and facilitating their role and impact.
Eight case studies of community protest and xenophobic violence in South Africa with recommendations under the categories of social justice activism, reforming the state, and socio-economic interventions.­
NDP 2030

The National Development Plan (NDP) aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society. The popular version in all official languages and two-page illustrated versions are also available.


Documents South Africa’s social and economic plan for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality and incorporates a number of child-specific developmental goals.

Presidency State of the Nation home page with additional information and links.­

Discussion document with an overall objective of eradicating poverty by focusing on the creation of economic opportunities and enabling or empowering communities and individuals to access these opportunities. This document has two parts. The first presents the anti-poverty framework and the second presents strategy. A draft programme of action is attached to the strategy.

The Presidency has published the National Evaluation Draft Policy Framework for public comment. Comments can be emailed to Dr Ian Goldman at [email protected] by 30 September 2011. For enquiries call Dr Ian Goldman at (012) 308 1918. ­­

The 20 Year Review synthesis report published in 2014 was informed by several thematic areas. These are regarded as focal areas to tell the story of South Africa’s progress since democracy. The 21 thematic background papers were written by officials in the Presidency and other government departments using research and other evidence to inform progress, sector developments and challenges still remaining. The body of work that went into developing these papers was extensive with the goal of understanding where we came from in order to inform South Africa’s future trajectory.  Each of the thematic papers was based on background papers which are available at the link above.

Link: Publication

Twenty years after the end of apartheid South Africa is a different place. It has a well institutionalized democracy. Significant gains have been made in social equity and in reducing extreme poverty. Yet poverty, unemployment and inequality remain South Africa’s most pressing problems. Social change and enhanced access to rights have not translated into comparable economic shifts – unemployment has risen and inequality remains extreme.The paper starts with a brief review of the literature to explore the main trajectories through which inequality impacts on economic development and growth. This includes consideration of the crucial roles of public policy and institutions, as well as the roles of asset inequality, income inequality, and inequality in access to opportunities.The paper then attempts to grapple with the multi-dimensional nature of inequality in South Africa and how social and economic inequality impact on the scope for economic development.


How did we come to think that eliminating poverty is a legitimate goal for public policy? What types of policies have emerged in the hope of attaining that goal? The last 200 years have witnessed a dramatic change in thinking about poverty. Mainstream economic thinking in the 18th century held that poverty was necessary and even desirable for a country’s economic success. Today, poverty is more often viewed as a constraint on that success. In short, poverty switched from being seen as a social good to a social bad. This change in thinking, and the accompanying progress in knowledge, has greatly influenced public action, with heightened emphasis on the role of antipoverty policy in sustainable promotion from poverty, as well as protection. Development strategies today typically strive for a virtuous cycle of growth with equity and a range of policy interventions have emerged that aim to help assure that outcome. An expanding body of knowledge has taught us about how effective those interventions are in specific settings, although many knowledge gaps remain.

Also read the related opnion piece by the author


The aim of this report is to take up the National Planning Commission’s offer to engage with the National Development Plan Vision 2030. It ams to provide a constructively critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the policy proposals of the National Development Plan (NDP) and of the underlying diagnostic studies on which it is based.

This Participate report draws on the experiences and views of people living in extreme poverty and marginalisation in 107 countries. It highlights four key messages that consistently emerge in different contexts:

1) the very poorest are less able to access infrastructure, services, support and opportunities;

2) development that is sustainable requires meaningful participation that leads to strong local ownership;

3) poverty is increasingly characterised by uncertainty, crisis, conflict, insecurity and volatility; and

4) poor governance reinforces poverty for the poorest and most marginalised. It notes that the development framework post-2015 will have legitimacy if it responds to the needs of all citizens, in particular those who are most marginalised in decision-making and face ongoing exclusion from development processes.

The report distils messages from 84 participatory research studies published in the last seven years. Forty-seven of these studies are based on creative material coming from visual participatory methods.

Provides a roadmap for how the World Bank will work with client governments to strengthen social protection systems in Africa. The Strategy was developed through broad-based consultation with client governments, development partners, civil society and academics. Argues that implementing this strategy will increase the effectiveness of social protections and contribute to reducing poverty and vulnerability.

This working paper considers the state of poverty discourse in South Africa since 1994: the ideological frameworks, narratives and assumptions that have shaped the construction of poverty as an object of academic knowledge, policy management and political concern. It concludes with an evaluation of the strengths and limits of South Africa’s anti-poverty consensus and considers different responses to the impasses confronting poverty management.

Africa is the world’s second-fastest-growing region. Poverty is falling, and around 90 million of its households have joined the world’s consuming classes—an increase of 31 million in just over a decade. This report argues that the continent must create wage-paying jobs more quickly to sustain these successes and ensure that growth benefits the majority of its people.

This paper discusses the nature and effects of social grants programmes in South Africa against the backdrop of international trends in the reform of social assistance systems. It shows that South Africa has a well-developed social assistance system that significantly reduces extreme poverty, in part because the grants are very well targeted. The review of existing literature and new evidence presented in this paper suggest that the grants influence the behaviour of recipients and potential recipients in various ways, not all of which are necessarily benign. The paper also highlights the scope for further research on the potential of workfare programmes, conditional cash transfer programmes and other innovative social assistance schemes in the South African context.

The political freedoms ushered in by the post 1994 transition were seen at that time as the basis for redressing long-standing economic deprivations suffered by the majority of the population. The reduction of poverty, in all its dimensions, was the goal. This volume assembles 12 essays by researchers who ask how well South Africa has addressed these problems.

This report presents a detailed analysis of changes in both poverty and inequality since the fall of Apartheid, and the potential drivers of such developments. Use is made of national survey data from 1993, 2000 and 2008. These data show that South Africa’s high aggregate level of income inequality increased between 1993 and 2008. The same is true of inequality within each of South Africa’s four major racial groups.

The Social Profile of South Africa 2002-2010 is an annual report first produced by Statistics South Africa in 2009 to analyse and explore changes in the situation of children, the youth, the elderly, women and disabled persons over time. The report uses General Household Survey (GHS) data from 2002 to 2010. The focal areas of this study are based on the current social agenda of the government and strategic priorities related to vulnerable groups.

This qualitative study assessed the impact of the global economic crisis on children and poor families in South Africa. The study also examined the coping strategies utilized by affected individuals and households as well as the adequacy of existing social protection programmes in dealing with the effects of the shock.

Explores the relationship between ‘state-business relations’ and pro-poor growth in post-apartheid South Africa. ­
Analyses what the MDGs have achieved, what the 2010 MDG review should do, giving an overview of the changing outlook up to ­2020.
Briefly outlines work done on estimating a poverty line as commissioned by the Department of Social Development. Describes three types of poverty measures and describes and presents current estimates for two types of poverty lines.
­The objective of this Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) is to identify the reasons given in the existing research literature for why crime in South Africa is so violent.
An innovative approach that BRAC has been experimenting with is described. Outlines a number of key lessons for the broader thinking on tackling ultra poverty.

Summarises some of the main findings from a research project undertaken by the Social Policy Research Group in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University.

Examines the changing nature of violence in the 21st century, and underlines the negative impact of repeated cycles of violence on a country or region’s development prospects.
Essays from organisations using different methodologies and approaches to generate evidence and influence policy and practice in a number of service areas including criminal justice, childrens' services and poverty reduction.
L­ooks back rigorously at the past several decades and identifies often surprising trends and patterns with important lessons for the future.
Provides an argument for linking efforts to reduce poverty and exclusion with the social protection agenda in Asia and the Pacific. ­
A concise overview of the progress Africa has made over the previous year in seven areas, namely economic growth, governance, peace and security, social development, food and nutrition security, climate change, and development cooperation and finance. Provides a series of practical recommendations for policy makers.
Reviews some ­policies which seek to alleviate and eventually eradicate poverty and its causes,­ and,­ provides a budget and benefit incidence in five government departments.
Commentary from the South African Civil Society Information Service (Sacsis) that the Zuma administration is attempting to insulate public policy choices from contestation in society, and as a consequence failing to build broader­ policy consensus.­
Assembled collaboratively over the past year by several South African civil society organisations (CSOs), this report scrutinises the country’s track record in fighting corruption, managing diversity, addressing xenophobia and racism, managing elections, consolidating democracy and upholding the rule of law, as well as confronting social exclusion and effective service delivery. ­­
E­xtracts lessons from case studies of Brazil, Vietnam, and Ghana to suggest three key areas where action by governments is likely to deliver: a proper redistributive agenda, appropriate macroeconomic prudence, and a policy environment that fosters a pro-poor private sector.
Calls for shifts in anti-poverty policies as economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty.
Examines the global state of adolescents, outlines the challenges they face in health, education, protection and participation, and argues that investing in them now is our best hope of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and inequity and laying the foundation for a more peaceful, tolerant and equitable world.
Explores the main lines of interaction between growth and distribution to determine the potential for pro-poor growth.
This analysis provides new understandings of current concepts of 'globalisation', 'use-oriented' research, 'knowledge society and economy', and 'national system of innovation'.
Identifies five main traps that underpin chronic poverty –  insecurity, limited citizenship, spatial disadvantage, social discrimination and poor work opportunities. Outlines key policy responses 
Contains updated estimates on how many rural poor people there are in developing countries, poverty rates in rural areas, and the percentage of poor people residing in rural areas.
­This report seeks to focus on the core, critical interventions that will be needed if South Africa’s development objectives are to be ­met.
Provides a synthesis of current global evidence on the impact of cash transfers in developing countries, and of what works in different contexts, or for different development objectives.
Aims to identify drivers of inequality in post-apartheid South Africa and evaluate appropriate policy interventions.
Discusses trends in urban poverty, based on an analysis of the pro-poor qualities of public sector initiatives in urban areas in Ghana between 1991 and 2008.
Citizen participation in policymaking and service design has been debated or attempted, but too infrequently realised. Considers current reform initiatives in the Australian Public Service (APS) and examines the implications of citizen-centric ideals for the processes and structures of government agencies.­
­Reports that the gap between the rich and the poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over over 30 years. Includes a special focus on inequality in growing economies.
An initiative by the South African Institute of Race Relations which aims to track development trends in South Africa, and will be released on a quarterly basis. ­
Reviews developments over the past five years, identifying six priority areas, three for African policymakers and three for their international partners.
Harmful household coping strategies may push many, particularly many women and their dependents, into chronic poverty.
Discusses the concept of innovation and how it can be applied to local solutions to reduce poverty.

Highlights policy innovations including expanded social protection programmes in Africa that are facilitating progress toward at­tainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

The second in th­e HSRC series that aims to monitor the evolving dynamics of South African social values in relation to broader societal developments.
A report intended as an initial high-level paper to stimulate discussion amongst New Zealand policy advisors and policy makers.­
The first regional developments and trends report on Africa proposing an approach to understanding and addressing key challenges ISSA member organisations face in different regions.
With a focus on lifelong consequences of childhood hunger for health, productivity and economic performance. ­
Examines the impact of pensions on old age poverty and their cost in 18 Latin American countries using household survey data.
This UNRISD Flagship Report explores the causes, dynamics and persistence of poverty and lays out a range of policies and institutional measures that countries can adopt to alleviate poverty.
­Provides an overview of social protection and an assessment of its potential contribution to addressing poverty ­in developing countries.
­Briefly reviews the literature on economic growth and poverty and examines whether economic growth influences poverty dynamics.
Working paper for comment and debate which argues that the global poverty problem has changed because most of the world's poor no lon­ger live in poor (low-income) countries.­
Assesses the progress made by South African cities over the last decade in relation to key development outcomes and reviews strategic problems and opportunities relating to planning and management­
Investigates whether the introduction of wage subsidies is an appropriate policy measure for dealing with South Africa’s particular sources of unemployment.
This ADB report presents a methodology for assessing and comparing social protection efforts of countries, providing indicators for use by policymakers 
Reviews the changing patterns of science, and scientific collaboration, in order to provide a basis for understanding such ongoing changes. Aims to identify the opportunities and benefits of international collaboration, to consider how they can best be realised, and to initiate a debate on how international scientific collaboration can be harnessed to tackle global problems more effectively.

This country briefing presents the results of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and explains key findings graphically. Further information as well as international comparisons are available here.

The third South Africa Economic Update, with a focus on inequality of opportunity. Section 1 provides an economic update and assesses the challenges and near-term prospects facing the South African economy. Section 2 focuses on inequality of opportunity in South Africa. For the first time, using innovative techniques, this section presents an analysis of the interlinked inequality of opportunities for children and for access to employment.

Aims to identify the main challenges confronting the country and examine their underlying causes. Serves to advance the discussion about the major issues confronting South Africa.
Aims to evaluate countries on progress in fulfilling their commitments to end global hunger. Makes use of 'aid indicators' and 'policy indicators'. ­
A comparative study of the food-security policy agendas in the IBSA countries which aims to  identify and examine critical issues and good practices in order to reveal relevant points for knowledge sharing. Includes a one-page summary.­
This report introduces a unique and unprecedented series of data on the state of capacity in Africa. It also examines key issues and challenges confronting in-country and cross-border capacity development.
The third in a series which discusses what needs to be done further in reaching the MDGs,  an abridged version of a much more comprehensive joint Economic Commission for Africa, African Union Commission, and African Development Bank report.

To achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) in addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, government requires data sources that provide empirical evidence which informs society on how far we have come in addressing these challenges and how far we still need to go. In 2006, the Presidency commissioned the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town to undertake a panel study, the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). South Africa has joined developed countries such as the UK and the US and developing countries such as Mexico and Indonesia in having a national panel survey. South Africa is a society that is undergoing rapid economic, political and social change, and the government identified the need for a panel study in order to better understand social change, mobility, poverty and household dynamics.This seminar explored the lives of children and youth in South Africa

What level of income is needed these days in order to get by, or better still in order to have a decent standard of living?  South Africa is moving in a positive direction towards implementing a national minimum wage, but there is concern about whether it will be sufficient to enable people to cover their costs of living. The amount required for an adequate diet is calculated by Statistics South Africa, but the costs of other aspects of life are less well established. This seminar comprises a series of short presentations with opportunity for discussions. The presentations will comprise: (1) recent findings on the incomes of those who do enjoy a socially-derived decent standard of living in South Africa, and the challenge of how to cost out such a standard of living in order to engage with debates on the adequacy of wages, social security and the social wage; (2) current work in the UK on the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) approach to costing out a decent standard of living, and how this work has been used to inform policy; (3) findings from a pilot of the MIS approach in South Africa; (4) insights from a parallel pilot of the MIS approach in Mexico. The seminar will conclude by identifying pragmatic steps towards costing out a decent standard of living, followed by discussion about the opportunities this will present for sharpening debates about thresholds of adequacy. BACKROUND DOCUMENTS AND PRESENTATIONS ARE ATTACHED.

Drawing upon recent and on-going research in South Africa, this workshop shared knowledge about the development of new measures of spatial inequality and their application as explanatory variables in order to better understand outcomes at both the individual level (e.g. people’s attitudes towards inequality and options for redress) and the area level (e.g. hotspots of social unrest and violent crime). The programme and presentations can be downloaded above. Any other documentation will be uploaded when it becomes available.

This Department of Science and Technology Government Cluster Policy Workshop held on 11 September 2013 spoke to Outcome 7 in government’s programme of action, namely the creation of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities. Specifically Output 4 – improved employment and skills development opportunities (indicator: number of youth participating in the National Rural Youth Service Corps [NARYSEC]).  Participants in this workshop reflected on the successes of and challenges faced in applying the approach and methods used in the NARYSEC programme, drew upon comparable programme experiences, and examined pertinent research evidence. It is expected that the knowledge shared and the recommendations generated in the workshop will inform other national and provincial youth development programmes. Presentations are attached and a policy note from the workshop can be downloaded above. A full report is available from the Policy Action Network on request.

This Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) Research Seminar was hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council, the Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI), the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) Rhodes University and the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development.

SAIMD 2011 is a ward-level measure of multiple deprivation. It comprises a weighted aggregate of four domains or dimensions of deprivation: material deprivation, employment deprivation, education deprivation and living environment deprivation, and was developed to facilitate sub-municipal analysis of multiple deprivation and its component domains (Noble et al., 2013). The SAIMD 2011 is the latest in a series of indices of multiple deprivation for South and southern Africa that have been developed using census data to profile multiple deprivation at sub- municipal level. The original South African study for 2001 was at ward level (e.g. Noble et al., 2006 and 2010) and was undertaken in collaboration with HSRC. It was followed by a series of further refinements to develop a sub-ward or ‘datazone’ level index for 2001 (e.g.  Noble and Wright, 2013), a series of child focused indices (e.g. Barnes et al., 2009), as well as updates to 2007 at municipal and datazone levels. 

Full reports and additional documentation will be circulated when they are made available.


The purpose of this colloquium is to share resullts from a DFID/ESRC- funded project . Currently in South Africa lone mothers of working age are only entitled to social assistance for themselves if they are disabled. A means-tested Child Support Grant is payable on behalf of their children but, though important, it is small in amount and is not intended to contribute to the caregiver's living expenses. In the context of South Africa’s Constitution which declares that ‘everyone has the right to have their dignity respected and protected’ and that access to social security is to be progressively realised, this project explores the meaning of dignity in lone mothers' lives and the extent to which social security protects or erodes their dignity. Below are themed reports of the project:

Themed Working Paper 1: Defining Lone Motherhood in South Africa

Themed Working Paper 2 :The impact of poverty and inequality on the dignity of lone mothers in South Africa

Themed Working Paper 3: Social security and the dignity of lone mothers in South Africa

This Department of Science and Technology Government Cluster Policy Workshop (GCPW) addressed the critical issues of spatial inequalities in South Africa, public perceptions towards inequalities and preferences for redistribution, as well as the relationship between the two. These issues are situated within the broader debates about inequalities as determinants of various social problems including poor health outcomes, social unrest and crime. The GCPW was informed by a research project which is being undertaken collaboratively between researchers at the University of Oxford and the HSRC. By investigating whether citizens' attitudes to inequality in South Africa are associated with their experience of inequality at the local level, the study attempts to provide new insights into inequality in South Africa to support evidence-based policy making. The project was motivated by three pressing needs:

  • first, the need to better understand the unequal spatial configuration of poverty and deprivation at small area level as a measure of people's lived experience of inequality;
  • second, the need to better understand public attitudes towards inequality and towards policy options for redress; and,
  • third, the need to explore whether people's attitudes are influenced by their lived experience of inequality

This record has been updated with additional presentations. In addition to further presentations are available on request as they are too large to load onto the website: The relationship between spatial inequality and attitudes to inequality in South Africa (David McLennan and Michael Noble) and Inclusion, access and the urban advantage (Philip Harrison). (email [email protected])

This symposium aimed to stimulate conversation between researchers, communicators and policy makers. The two-day event saw lively discussion on the nature and role of ‘evidence’, dominant methodologies in social science research, and ways to make ‘sense’ and meaning of data. Through the exchanges of experience and research some fresh, innovative frameworks were brought forward which enable a more critical, realistic approach to the policy making nexus, with a specific focus on the politics of poverty research and pro-poor policy development.

The recent National ECD conference hosted by the National Department of Social Development was a crucial step in the development of an integrated national ECD programme for South Africa. The draft conference declaration was read out by the National Minister of Social Development at the end of the conference. The Director General in the National Department of Social Development highlighted these National ECD Conference Emerging Issues

Papers from a Non-Governmental Public Action (London School of  Economics) conference.
Presentations from a ­conference held in September 2010 at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
A three-day national conference on structural poverty to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from ­20 - 22 September 2010.­
Presentations from meeting which explored how best African countries can harness knowledge to advance their development and to achieve the targets of the Millennium Declaration Goals (MDGs).
Report on a CDE round table where some of South Africa’s leading experts discussed the politics and economics of inequality.

Presentation from a seminar which reviewed evidence-based policy-making and the potential role of evaluation as a key, and a systematic, source of evidence. Presented by Dr Ian Goldman, Deputy Director General, Evaluation and Research, DPME,­ The Presidency.­

A conference aiming to contribute to collaboration for the improved use of research and greater youth involvement in participatory re­search.

Documentation from policy ­dialogue on the role of social protection as an element of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy - evaluating the extent of its contribution over the previous 15 years.

Workshop report where participants were enabled to apply a knowledge synthesis ­method including: choosing a relevant policy for study, analysing it, performing a literature review (in a way that differs from literature reviews on simple interventions) and organising deliberative processes.
Event where research findings on poverty eradication in least developed countries were presented by CPRC partners in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal, with key messages for policy makers. ­
Essays based on a conference which aimed to ­encourage and facilitate debate about the ethical basis for policy making.
Aims to establish the dynamics between poverty reduction and economic growth.
Investigates links between education and poverty reduction, cross-sectoral co-ordination and policy coherence.
Papers from a conference which aimed to identify lessons on what has and has not worked, and to consider how best to deal with emerging challenges, with the emphasis discussing experiences of African countries that have successfully reformed their tax policy and revenue administration systems.
Aimed at promoting greater cross-Africa dialogue among parliamentarians from different countries to improve the ­implementation of poverty reduction programmes.
Conference presentations can now be downloaded. Also look at the summing-­up, Cross cutting golden threads.
Report on contribution of research intermediaries to pro-poor evidence based policy and practice.
Link: Econ3x3

Econ3x3 is an independent forum for critical public debate on unemployment and employment, income distri­bution and inclu­sive growth in South Africa. It publishes accessible research- based contribu­tions and expert commentaries. The forum encourages debate on an inte­grated and consistent policy response to unemployment, inequality and poverty and a stronger engagement between research and policy making. Econ3x3 invites contributions from economists and other social science researchers, policymakers and relevant experts.

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) is a civil society anti-poverty advocacy network of over 140 organisation working for pro-poor development in different parts of Zambia. ­
If you have some ideas on building a better South Africa, please register for and participate in the National Planning Commission (NPC)­ Jam (an online brainstorming event from noon on 28 September until noon on 1 October). Additional information can also be found here. ­
CIPPEC, a leading think tank in Argentina will award 12 scholarships to participate in the third edition of this online training programme developed jointly with Global Development Network (GDN)­ which will start by the end of August 2011.­

Issue five of the newsletter ­From Evidence to Action looks at the education system in South Africa, ­in particular how­ evidence informed policies can be implemented to address many of the problems it faces.­

Download the second issue of the Policy > Action Network newsletter and email [email protected] if you would like to make comments or submissions for the next issue.
A new online resource for policy makers and development practitioners on non-contributory (social) pensions. The site aims to bring together learning from existing social pension schemes around the world in order to inform policy makers, academics and activists.
A global civil society response to poverty, aiming t­o mobilise 2m people in South Africa.
Aims to strengthen civil society advocacy initiatives to advance access to socioeconomic rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
A new Facebook forum for a national citizens' dialogue, currently working against xenophobia and planning for ­a National Indaba in September 2010.
This internship offers outstanding graduate-level students the opportunity to acquire direct exposure to IPC-IG’s work as a global forum for policy dialogue and South-South learning on development innovations.
A community of over 1,000 practitioners managing for development results (MfDR) from 37 different African countries and regions across the world.
A South American network that aims to advance the state of knowledge and expertise about poverty, inequality and social exclusion.
Presents findings of five research projects around civil society and strategies for achieving social justice in South Africa.­

Consolidation of the State of the Nation and State of the Province addresses prepared by André Viviers, Senior Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF South Africa.

In this issue of From Evidence to Action, we focus on the issue of the politics of policy, highlighted by an international symposium which took place in November 2012, entitled The politics of poverty research and pro-poor policy-making: Learning from the practice of policy dialogue. The event identified and discussed key conceptual and contextual issues around the politics of poverty research and pro-poor policy-making, with a particular focus on evidence-based policy-making (EBPM). Our case study on the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD) demonstrates a concrete example of how this has been put into practice, while our Spotlight on looks at another programme, DRUSSA (Development Research Uptake in Southern Africa), which also aims to improve researchers’ capacity to manage the uptake of research by their key stakeholders. We examine a general approach for participatory policy-making and finally, we provide our usual variety of useful resources, including reports, web links, training opportunities and events.

In this first issue of From Evidence to Action for 2012, we look at networks and, specifically, the role they play in changing policy. Our feature article, Getting the most out of policy networks, examines what a network actually is and what makes them effective. Through the example of the Regional Network on Equity in Health in Southern Africa, EQUINET, our case study further explores how to build networks and how they can be used to influence policy. We also find out more about the Policy Action Network, how to manage a Community of Practice. 

Explores the latest thinking on social exclusion within development studies and the more historical debates  concerning the ways in which processes of 'adverse ­incorporation', closure' and 'marginalisation' work to impoverish regions, sectors and people.­
A paper with a literature review of the key questions, methods and findings of investigations and an annotated bibliography which lists and summarises relevant works.
This review applied a systematic protocol to the identification and retrieval of published and unpublished documents relating to the impacts of employment guarantee schemes and cash transfers on the poor. ­

Government policy & legislation

NDP 2030

The National Development Plan (NDP) aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society. The popular version in all official languages and two-page illustrated versions are also available.


Documents South Africa’s social and economic plan for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality and incorporates a number of child-specific developmental goals.

Presidency State of the Nation home page with additional information and links.­

Discussion document with an overall objective of eradicating poverty by focusing on the creation of economic opportunities and enabling or empowering communities and individuals to access these opportunities. This document has two parts. The first presents the anti-poverty framework and the second presents strategy. A draft programme of action is attached to the strategy.

The Presidency has published the National Evaluation Draft Policy Framework for public comment. Comments can be emailed to Dr Ian Goldman at [email protected] by 30 September 2011. For enquiries call Dr Ian Goldman at (012) 308 1918. ­­