Social Protection, Livelihoods and Asset Building

Source: © 2004 Michael Rubinstein/IFPRI
High school in Nubugoya Hill near Mbale, Uganda

Increasingly recognized as a critical part of social policy, social protection systems have been used to enable individuals, families, and communities to reduce risk and/or mitigate the impacts of stresses and shocks to their livelihoods. They may also be used to support people who suffer from chronic incapacities to secure basic subsistence. Such interventions can contribute to poverty reduction and growth through investments in health, nutrition, and education for children and adults, development of productive infrastructure, and promotion of livelihoods activities. This research program focuses on social protection interventions that aim to reduce poverty, malnutrition, and vulnerability through promoting investments in human capital. It generates and uses quantitative and qualitative data to understand the impact pathways of alternative interventions affecting human capital and poverty reduction. It considers the different geographical, economic, social and political contexts within which these interventions operate, as well as shocks, and the implications for outcomes. It then examines how this understanding can contribute to innovations in policy and program design to enhance the quality, reach, and impacts of interventions to reduce poverty and vulnerability in both the short- and long-term.

Goals and Objectives

The objective of this research is to use data from evaluations of interventions designed to increase human capital to understand the policies, interventions, and other factors that lead to sustainable poverty reduction and nutritional improvements. Further, the project aims to use these findings to facilitate development of policies and interventions for sustainable poverty reduction and nutrition improvement in poor countries through:

increased understanding of the impacts and pathways of impact—in the short-, medium- and long-term—of alternative interventions to increase human capital and promote sustainable poverty reduction and nutrition improvement, in the context of chronic poverty, vulnerabilities, and adverse shocks; new evidence on the medium- and long-term effects of specific policies and interventions that reduce poverty and improve other dimensions of well-being and the use of this understanding to develop innovations in policy and program design to improve the quality, reach, and impacts of interventions to reduce poverty and vulnerability in both the short- and long-term; the development of best practices in quantitative and qualitative research methods to evaluate and compare various interventions, including data sets incorporating advances in the design and implementation of individual and household survey techniques created; understanding the role of contextual factors, including shocks, policy processes, political economy, institutions and governance in explaining outcomes related to safety net and social protection programs; and the development of capacity for design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions.

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