Social protection

Policies and procedures included in social protection involve five major kinds of activities: labour market policies and programs, social insurance programs, social assistance, micro and area-based schemes, and child protection. These are designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability. The document collection in this section aims to support those involved in social protection policy processes.

Related publications

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]­.

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 brief setting out five approaches to programme development and interventions for national social protection policy processes in Africa.
Reviews ­policy implications for assessing the impact of economic and other shocks on children.
Proposes ten guiding principles for the future engagement of development partners with national social protection policy processes in Africa.
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.
The first in a new series incorporating new evidence on the practicalities and impacts of delivering large scale social protection.
R­eviews the status of Botswana’s social protection policies and programmes within their broader social development context, examines their effectiveness and assesses the challenges they face.
Reviews the G20 plan to fund social protection for the poorest countries in the current financial crisis.
A series of ten policy briefs which provide an overview of the current debate on the role of social transfers in Southern Africa.
Reviews the UK benefits system and proposes a recasting of state support for the unemployed and low paid.
Argues that both unemployed South Africans and social grant recipients have a positive attitude towards work and cannot be regarded as dependent.
­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 policy brief which identifies a social agenda as crucial in addressing the global financial crisis.
Presents the little and partially­ preliminary evidence of the positive effects that cash transfer programmes have on non-participants.
Supports the implementation of gender equality in policies on social inclusion and social protection.
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 free, online, interactive tool, which maps and graphs more than 175 indicators from the World Bank’s development database.
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.
Aims to provide analytical tools and resources to assist analysts and managers with policy development or service-planning projects.
Provides a definition of community resilience in the context of national health security and a set o­f eight levers and five core components for building resilience.
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.

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

Explores factors that enable or constrain the implementation of policies and programmes that address social exclusion.
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.
Newsletter with brief ­case studies from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Kenya and Ghana.

Reviews findings of research on the benefits of basic income grants, conducted by BIGC in Namibia.

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.


Policy framework for post-apartheid restructuring of social welfare services, programmes and social security and emphasises the need for attaining equity and redress through social development.

A collective response to the international economic crisis from the South African Presidential Economic Joint Working Group.
­Documentation from a high level interactive forum for policy debate on social protection policy formulation.
Presidency State of the Nation home page with additional information and links.­
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.

PAN:Children is hosting a Colloquium on lone mothers, social security and dignity in South Africa on 6 June 2014 at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in Pretoria. The purpose of this colloquium is to share results from DFID/ESRC -funded project that is nearing completion and to discuss with the attendees the emerging findings and policy implications. The project entitled ' Lone mothers in South Africa- The role of social security in respecting and protecting dignity' was led by Professor Noble at the University of Oxford and involved collaborations with colleagues at the Human Sciences Research Council and the University of the Western Cape. This event is for stakeholders in government and civil society.

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 report presents the contemporary global context and charts a path for policymakers and citizens to navigate the increasing interconnec tedness of the world and to face the growing global challenges. It describes how the dynamics of power, voice and wealth in the world are changing and identifies new policies and institutions necessary to address these 21st century realities and promote human development with greater equity, sustainability and social integration. Identifies reforms necessary at both global and national level with an emphasis on building social cohesion, the need for state commitment to education, health and social protection, and openness to trade integration emerge as means of navigating towards sustainable and equitable human development.

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.

In 2008 the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (C A S E) was commissioned by the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS) to conduct research to identify what barriers remain to accessing the CSG. This study identifies what the barriers to accessing the CSG are in rural, vulnerable communities so that work can be done to ensure that these barriers are addressed.

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.

Aims­ to determine which employment and social protection policies yielded good results and in which context. Reviews 13 policies identified in the Global Jobs Pact of June 2009.
Papers and publications on residential land insecurity as a key factor in the processes of social marginalisation.
­This report reflects an analysis of key indicators to assess the fulfi lment of children’s rights in South Africa. Most of the data is derived from Statistics South Africa’s General Household Survey (GHS) which covers six broad areas, education, health, social development, housing, household access to services and facilities, food security and agriculture. Download part one and part two.
3ie is calling for new and innovative impact evaluation proposals on social protection. ­Applications will be accepted from 10 October 2011 and the deadline for submission of expressions of interest is 11.59 pm GMT November 7, 2011.­
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.
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. ­­
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.
Reviews one part of post-apartheid policymaking leading to the establishment of the child support grant.
Argues for a rights-based approach when framing public policy (Chapter 1 from Shaping the future of social protection: access, financing and solidarity.
This analysis provides new understandings of current concepts of 'globalisation', 'use-oriented' research, 'knowledge society and economy', and 'national system of innovation'.
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.

Argues that strong social programmes can play a vital part in an economic stimulus package.

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.­
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. ­
Full text of monograph launched at conference on the welfare state, with chapter on the need for a values-led debate on shaping public policy.

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

A report intended as an initial high-level paper to stimulate discussion amongst New Zealand policy advisors and policy makers.­
Explores social exclusion in sub-Saharan Africa and factors that enable or hinder policy implementation 
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.
Presents findings on the relationship between social grants and employment and that there is no evidence of a dependency culture.
Examines the impact of pensions on old age poverty and their cost in 18 Latin American countries using household survey data.
­Provides an overview of social protection and an assessment of its potential contribution to addressing poverty ­in developing 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
Makes policy recommendations to reduce the impact of the economic recession on low-income countries.
Reviews the role of community health financing for protection against the impoverishing effects of illness.
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.
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'. ­
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.
Updated database which provides a summary of evidence available on the effectiveness of social assistance interventions in developing countries.
Calls for an assessment of gaps in social policy, especially in relation to legislation on social protection, with special attention to the role of women and children.
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.
Explores the policy processes that led to the creation of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme, the largest social protection programme in Africa.
Investigates health care systems in Kenya, Senegal and South Africa, followed by a short description of the methodology and data used in the research. The later sections focus on empirical results and policy implications.

On 14th August 2015, the Child Allowance Webinar Series will commence with a webinar dedicated to South Africa’s Child Support Grant. The webinar is supported by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (the IPC-IG/UNDP) and UNICEF and hosted by The purpose of the Child Allowance Webinar Series is to present a variety of child allowance experiences including that of South Africa and Uruguay. Each country will have a dedicated webinar.

The webinar on Friday will showcase the experience of South Africa’s Child Support Grant. Alejandro Grinspun from UNICEF South Africa will moderate the event, which will be open to questions and comments from the audience – both during the webinar and in the weeks thereafter, as part of the platform’s online community. For further details about the platform and this specific CSG webinar, you should visit: and


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

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

Workshop to discuss the value that South-South policy dialogue can potentially add by linking social protection programmes to overall macroeconomic factors.

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.­

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.
Addressed challenges facing the South African health system, aiming to influence health policy developers on issues related to national health insurance.
­View conference presentations ­on which types of social protection have worked and/or are expected to work best for the region.
Essays based on a conference which aimed to ­encourage and facilitate debate about the ethical basis for policy making.
This conference addressed:­ Financing of social protection, social protection and economic growth, retirement reform, pensions and comprehensive healthcare, and, social protection and ­poverty.

The Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) is a network of individuals and organizations operating at grassroots, national and regional levels, with a commitment to promoting a strengthening the social contract between states and citizens.To achieve this, the APSP promotes active engagement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the shaping of social protection policies, programmes, and practices in Africa.

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 new Facebook forum for a national citizens' dialogue, currently working against xenophobia and planning for ­a National Indaba in September 2010.
Join this network to engage with the draft Social Service Professions Bill and advocate for improvements.
­A new online collaborative platform for policy dialogue and knowledge-sharing amongst social protection practitioners in the Global South.
A network of individuals and organisations operating at sub-national, national and regional levels, with a commitment to promoting and strengthening the social contract between states and citizens.
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.
An appeal to the NGO and CBO sector to develop a new framework and advocate for the areas that need urgent attention in the sector.

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 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. 

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.


Policy framework for post-apartheid restructuring of social welfare services, programmes and social security and emphasises the need for attaining equity and redress through social development.

A collective response to the international economic crisis from the South African Presidential Economic Joint Working Group.
­Documentation from a high level interactive forum for policy debate on social protection policy formulation.
Presidency State of the Nation home page with additional information and links.­
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. ­­