Social protection

strengthening the economic Imperative for social Protection

strengthening the economic Imperative for social Protection

The International Policy Conference on the African Child (IPC) provides a platform for policy dialogue on subjects affecting children in Africa. The Sixth International Policy Conference is on the theme of Social protection in Africa: Making it work for children.

Social protection is gaining recognition among African governments as an effective strategy to address deprivation and vulnerability among marginalised groups, including children. many African governments have national social protection frameworks and policies in place and have begun to create institutional arrangements that facilitate programme design and implementation. yet progress across African countries has been inconsistent, particularly since the endorsement of the Au Social Protection framework in 2009. Many questions and gaps remain with respect to — among other things — how social protection contributes to economic growth, how it can incrementally grow and become institutionalised within national processes, and how it can be sustainable, financed from domestic sources and nationally owned.
In the 6th IPC, ACPf, together with the African union (Au), governments, civil society organisations (CSos), pan-African and regional treaty bodies, academics and un agencies, aims to address some of these questions. To inform the policy dialogue, ACPf has prepared four background papers. This paper, entitled Strengthening the economic imperative of child-sensitive social protection, is one of them.

Policy Brief: Child cash transfers halve HIV risk behaviours for adolescent girls

Why is this important?

A million youths in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV annually. Girls are at up to three times the risk of boys. Transactional and age-disparate sex (‘sugar daddies’) are a key cause of HIV-infection. Systematic reviews show limited effectiveness of behavioural HIV-prevention programmes. Cash transfers to alleviate poverty may be helpful.

The research:

Longitudinal survey, 3,515 children aged 10–18 (<2.5% refusal, 96.8% retention rate), 2009–12.

Stratified random sampling of entire census enumeration areas in rural and urban sites in two South African provinces (Western Cape andMpumalanga).

Propensity score matching to replicate randomised controlled trial conditions, additional check in multivariate logistic regression


The Role of Civil Society in Supporting and Strengthening National Child-Sensitive Social Protection Programmes


The role of Civil Society in supporting and strengthening National Child-Sensitive Social Protection Programmes .pdf

This paper aims to provide an overview of the legal and developmental rationale for CSO participation, as well describe the role that CSOs have played – and could potentially play –in Africa in formulating and implementing child-sensitive social protection programmes to improve child wellbeing. Drawing on lessons identified from existing initiatives, the paper aims to highlight the challenges that need to be addressed and the opportunities that can be built upon to secure effective CSO participation in government-led national social protection policies and programmes benefiting children across Africa. Building on progress in social protection policies and programmes across Africa, there is the need to accelerate existing efforts by overcoming a number of constraints. This includes by putting in place more sustainable fiscal arrangements; strengthening accountability of multiple sectors and stakeholders through national platforms and institutional arrangements; and scaling up social protection to include a comprehensive package that reaches all children. This need requires collaborative efforts from all stakeholders, including CSOs.

Protecting Africa's future: Livelihood-based social protection for orphaned and vulnerable children in East and Southern Africa

FAO REOSA policy brief 01

Despite greater access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in southern Africa, the current HIV epidemic continues to result in increasing numbers of orphaned and vulnerable children. In many countries in the region, as many as 50 per cent of all orphans under the age of 17 years had parents who died of AIDS-related illnesses. According to bodies like UNAIDS, this level of AIDSrelated orphanhood is expected to remain high until 2030.

Although noteworthy policy and investment in programmes aimed at responding to these children’s needs exist, too many programmes remain ill-equipped to cater for their needs in a sustainable and cost-effective way. This is partly as a result of gaps in OVC social protection policy and legislation.

This policy brief presents a series of Regional Inter-Agency Task Team for Children (RIATT) and FAO recommendations. 

Among them are:

  • Drafting stand-alone social protection policies to fill gaps in protection of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC); and
  • Strengthening existing policy frameworks.

It also advocates for:

  • Livelihood-based social protection initiatives aimed at reducing vulnerability and providing social transfers to the poor; and
  • Protecting the vulnerable against livelihood risks and enhancing the social status of themarginalized.

Working paper: Strengthening child protection system in sub-Saharan Africa

Working paper: Strengthening child protection system in sub-Saharan Africa

The inter-agency working paper consolidates current thinking, examples and lessons learned about child protection system strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa and suggest a way forward. The focus is on concrete actions that reflect country narratives and is followed by recommendations for continuing and sustaining the work.

There is a growing interest in applying the systems approach to strengthening child protection efforts. Guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the systems approach shifts attention to a larger systemic framework that includes legal and policy contexts, institutional capacity, community contexts, planning, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation subsystems.

This approach differs from child protection efforts that focus on single thematic issues, such as HIV/AIDS, disability, child trafficking, street children, child labour, emergencies and institutionalization. These single-issue approaches often result in a fragmented and unsustainable child protection response. 

The need to scale up livelihood approaches: Social protection programmes for orphaned and vulnerable children

Series title: 

REOSA policy brief 03


FAO REOSA policy brief 03

Since the first case of HIV was diagnosed in Malawi in 1985, many parents in their most economically productive years have succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses, often leaving behind young children. According to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Community Development, it is estimated that more than two million children in Malawi could be classified as vulnerable as they face diverse and complex challenges to their survival which may prevent them from realizing their potential in life. In the absence of care, support and livelihoods, orphaned or vulnerable children (OVC) in the country – like those in many other countries – have resorted to piecework, sometimes migrating in search of seasonal work and transactional sex to meet their immediate needs.

This policy brief is the result of three case studies undertaken by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Regional Inter Agency Task Team for Children and AIDS (RIATT) on livelihoodbased social protection for orphaned and highly vulnerable children in Malawi.

Social Protection Programmes Contribute to HIV Prevention

Social Protection and HIV prevention 2015.pdf

This brief describes the pathways through which social protection – especially cash transfers – contributes to HIV prevention, particularly in addressing the social, economic and structural drivers of HIV in adolescents. This brief is important for policymakers and programme managers who work on HIV prevention or social protection – and the intersection of both.

Livelihood-based social protection for orphans and vulnerable children: Success stories from Malawi


Livelihood-based social protection for orphans and vulnerable children: Success stories from Malawi.pdf

This Situation Analysis Report is part of a broader review and assessment of agricultural and livelihood-based social protection for orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) programmes in Malawi that are deemed to have potential for replication and scaling up. The United Nations (UN) and Partners Alliance for livelihood-based social protection for OVC champions this initiative against the background of a widely acknowledged need for a coordinated approach and response among a multiplicity of stakeholders to reduce transaction costs, and improve efficiency and effectiveness in the efforts that are intended to build a better future for OVC. During the Global OVC Partners Forum in October 2003, a decision was made to undertake joint rapid assessment, analysis and action planning (RAAAP) to act as a basis for OVC national responses. The overall objective of the RAAAP process was to identify immediate key actions needed to significantly scale up national multisectoral responses in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Similarly, the need for coordination and leadership on OVC issues was acknowledged and expressed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers in 2004 through the Cape Town Declaration, and further by the intergovernmental conference in 2006 through what is known as the Livingstone Call for Action.

Following such appeals for greater commitment, cooperation and action to provide social protection, countries in the region have made various responses. By mid 2005, sixteen countries in southern and eastern Africa, including Malawi, completed the first RAAAP phase which resulted in the design of the SADC National Plan of Action (NPA) for OVC. The UN and Partners Alliance for livelihood-based social protection for OVC was formed in early 2006 between UN agencies (FAO [Food and Agricultural Organization], UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] and WPF [World Food Programme]), governments (line ministries for the NPA), and civil society organizations such as CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) and Oxfam. In Malawi, the RAAAP process was commissioned in 2004, facilitated by a national task force for OVC with support from the technical working group on OVC which comprised technical staff from UNICEF, UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS), USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and WFP. The RAAAP contributed a great deal to the development of the 2005–2009 NPA for OVC. The development of the NPA was facilitated by a country steering committee which comprised members from key line ministries of government, UN agencies, donors, the National AIDS Commission and the chair of the national task force for OVC.

The need to reconsider the livelihood part of the social protection agenda for orphans and other vulnerable children In Malawi, it is generally acknowledged that the development of the NPA has raised the profile of OVC and led to improvements in funding OVC projects.  However, it has also been argued, both in the country and in the region, that support to OVC projects has mainly focused on education and child protection without adequately addressing the livelihoodbased social protection needs of OVC1. Based on this assertion, FAO was mandated to review and assess innovative agricultural and livelihood programmes from the perspective of the emerging social protection agenda for OVC and in the context of HIV and AIDS in the eastern and southern African regions, in order to identify promising practices that could be replicated and scaled up. This study is therefore part of this regional effort

Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers, especially older carers

Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers

This paper demonstrates how recognising the value of kinship care, and addressing the challenges faced by children and carers, is likely to lead to a range of positive outcomes, including improved education and child protection, and better physical health and psychosocial well-being for older persons.

In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 90% of children who have lost one or both parents are looked after by relatives, in many countries, the effects of HIV & AIDS have left older relatives caring for children, and in countries such as Malawi, where large numbers of adults migrate for work, children are being cared for by their grandparents or other relatives.

Most of these arrangements are informal and therefore children and their carers may be missing out on social protection and benefits. Older carers may find it difficult to support children financially. While many kinship carers do their best, children, especially girls, may be exposed to discrimination and abuse.

The prevalence of kinship care means that this issue is not just of concern for those with a narrow alternative care or child protection remit, but also requires commitments from agencies working in health, social protection, justice and education to ensure that the needs of children in kinship care and their carers are met.

For more information on this initiative, please contact:

Estimating the size of the sex worker population in South Africa


The research estimates that 153,000 sex workers are active in South Africa. The study is aimed at helping SANAC roll out the country’s first national HIV care and treatment plan for sex workers to provide better prevention and care services for HIV, STIs, and TB among sex workers and their families.

RIATT-ESA Policy Briefs

Improving the understanding and build the evidence base around the kinds of interventions which are most effective for children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.

Download here the new evidence for policy and programming for vulnerable children.

Pathways from parental AIDS.pdf

Cash transfers.pdf

Household mobility.pdf

Substance abuse & educ.pdf

Adult treatment& children's education.pdf

Pyschosocial outcomes.pdf


Now More than Ever! A need to reach the youngest children affected by HIV and AIDS



Now More than Ever brochure - web version.pdf

This practical guide by the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS helps implementers improve programming and/or program connections that support young children born into HIV-affected families. It provides information about early integrated interventions for health, nutrition, HIV, parenting, economic support, and early childhood development (ECD) for families affected by HIV. The resource offers practical examples and case studies from different contexts, including from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Zambia.


HIV sensitive social protection guidance note

Series title: 

Guidance note: 2011


HIV sensitive social protection guidance note

UNAIDS has identified social protection as a strategic priority in the global HIV response because of its importance in addressing the drivers of the epidemic as well as helping to mitigate its impacts on communities, households and individuals.

This guidance note summarises information on HIV-sensitive social protection, sets out key principles to provide a strong foundation for programming, and describes the potential of social protection to advance HIV prevention, treatment, care and support outcomes.

The guidance note was launched at ICASA 2011.

Don't let children fall off the map: Children in Eastern and Southern Africa affected by AIDS

Don't let children fall off the map.pdf

Whilst some progress has been made towards these goals, the reality is that most affected countries, including those in Eastern and Southern Africa still have a long way to go in terms of fulfilling the many commitments and goals. In Eastern and Southern Africa children, their families and their communities continue to live with the harsh impacts of HIV and AIDS.