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Family support for older persons in Thailand: challenges and opportunities

04 Apr 2017 02:29:46 GMT

Population ageing and the wellbeing of older persons are major emerging challenges for families, communities, and government in Thailand as in much of Asia. Traditionally, support and care for the elderly are met within the family. Adult children are important providers of material support as well as other forms of assistance to their older-age parents. The state and communities typically provide limited care services for the older population. Currently, Thailand is facing demographic and socioeconomic changes that pose significant challenges for the roles that family members, especially adult children, play in providing support for the elderly.

The Thai government has been giving very serious attention to population ageing issues. This was clearly indicated by the adoption of the Second National Plan for Older Persons covering 2002-2021, the prominence of aging issues in the 2012-16 National Economic and Social Development Plan, and a 2015 establishment of the Department of Older Persons with expanded authority to carry out programs to support elderly Thais. Importantly, the Old Age Allowance program was expanded in 2009 into a universal social pension for persons aged 60 and older who lacked other pension coverage. At the same time, there has been a significant increase in public awareness regarding population ageing in the last decade. Furthermore, efforts to strengthen community support for older persons have also
arisen in various parts of the country.
 
The key objective of this position paper is to empirically examine how family cares for older persons in various aspects (such as material and social support as well as personal care) and what challenges and opportunities are facing the family.

The position paper is organised into the following sections: 1) demographics of ageing; 2) availability of children and old-age living arrangements; 3) material support for older persons; 4) social support; 5) personal care support; 6) older persons’ contributions and; 7) discussion and conclusion; 8) policy recommendations.



Legal status and deprivation in India’s urban slums: an analysis of two decades of National Sample Survey Data

04 Apr 2017 02:07:42 GMT

In India, 52–98 million people live in urban slums, and 59% of slums are “non-notified” or lack legal recognition by the government. In this paper, the authors use data on 2,901 slums from four waves of the National Sample Survey (NSS) spanning almost 20 years to test the hypothesis that non-notified status is associated with greater deprivation in access to basic services, thereby increasing vulnerability to poor health outcomes.

To quantify deprivation for each slum, tha paper constructs a basic services deprivation score (BSDS), which includes variables that affect health, such as access to piped water, latrines, solid waste disposal, schools, and health centers.

In a regression analysis, the authors find a robust association between non-notified status and greater deprivation after controlling for other variables. Analysis reveals a progressive reduction in deprivation the longer a slum has been notified. In addition, data from the 2012 NSS show that, despite suffering from greater deprivation, non-notified slums were much less likely to receive financial aid from government slum improvement schemes.

Findings suggest that legally recognizing non-notified slums and targeting government aid to these settlements may be crucial for improving health outcomes and diminishing urban disparities.



Governance of-non-state social protection initiatives: implications for addressing gendered vulnerability to poverty in Uganda

21 Feb 2017 12:15:12 GMT

Non-state actors (NSAs) are offering social protection services in Uganda to address vulnerabilities associated with poverty. Information is limited on their adequacy and efficacy and how their governance mechanisms address gender concerns.

This study aimed to fill that gap. The research was conducted December 2012 to May 2013 in Katakwi and Kyegegwa Districts, selected for their levels of poverty and vulnerability associated with the civil war, cattle rustling and influx of refugees from neighbouring countries. The design was cross-sectional and used semi-structured questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and case studies with NSA beneficiaries and representatives and opinion leaders.

Formal NSAs deliver mostly promotive services such as capacity building in farming and human rights sensitisation while informal NSAs provide mainly preventive services like savings and credit, and burial and moral support. The needs are great and the resources limited, so only the immediate problems are handled. For gender issues such services are only symptomatic treatment: what is needed are preventive and transformative interventions to deliver sustained reduction in gendered vulnerability. Large and formal NSAs depend on donor support, and community-based organisations on contributions, neither of which is sustainable.

The NSAs have governance instruments, but these are gender blind and broad in definition. Formal NSAs are accountable to the government and donors but not to their clientele. The contrary is true for informal NSAs.

A national policy that accommodates the local context is needed to support delivery of NSA services; to facilitate offering of  transformative and preventive interventions of long-term and strategic nature; to guide NSAs to incorporate gender responsiveness as a guiding principle in their interventions; and to require NSAs to engage local communities in programme development. Gender should be integral to all policy and programming, supported by gender training at all levels.



Provision of social protection services by non-state actors in Nyanza Region Kenya : assessing women empowerment

21 Feb 2017 12:01:52 GMT

In Kenya, women are more likely than men to suffer poverty and its associated vulnerabilities, mainly because they are excluded from decision-making on economic issues, they have limited access to the factors of production, particularly land, and traditional customs allocate them undervalued roles and constrain their voice and mobility. Many of the 300,000 non-state actors (NSAs) providing social protection services in the country are helping women deal with
these challenges and improve their livelihood.
 
This study sought to find out whether these social protection services were empowering women, expanding their livelihood skills and enhancing their ability to make strategic life choices, which they were previously denied.

The study mapped NSA social protection providers and services in Bondo, Kisii, Kisumu and Siaya districts in Nyanza region, followed by an in-depth survey of selected NSAs and their beneficiaries. Most of the NSA programmes were transforming the lives of poor women and empowering them, particularly the programmes focusing on income generation, access to credit and savings, skills training, and civic education and leadership skills. NSAs need to be supported for effective delivery of their services by coordination of their
activities and strengthening of their role in gender sensitive social protection programming.
 
Their anti-poverty programmes could be made more empowering and gender sensitive if the targeted groups were involved in their design and implementation. This would require that the beneficiaries be regarded as active agents of change and equal stakeholders in the social protection programmes’ development processes. It is vital that linkages be established between policy actors for exchange of knowledge and lesson learning, and that investment be made in building capacity for planning and implementation for programme implementers to develop skills that will ensure gender-sensitive programme designs translate into gender-sensitive implementation. NSAs can support people facing challenges with practical help, but they can also promote public action to challenge the state to transform laws



A political economy analysis of social protection programmes in Botswana

21 Feb 2017 11:51:13 GMT

Certain groups within society such as children, older persons and the physically challenged are more vulnerable to poverty, lack of access to social amenities, poor health and poor nutrition compared with the rest of the citizens. Despite being an upper middle-income country, Botswana is not an exception to this problem. While the country’s development indicators have continued to rise, owing to the discovery of minerals in the 1970s, Botswana still experiences development challenges such as poverty, unemployment and income inequality. Consequently, the government has put in place a nationwide self-funded Social Protection (SP) regime to address these challenges.
 
This study seeks to establish whether socio-economic, historical, political and institutional factors and actors support the drive or resistance to the SP policy and programmes, and whether this has any implications on its sustainability. A mixed data-collection approach sampled 200 actors, both state and non-state, to represent the general views of all involved. A political economy (PE) analysis was then carried out to establish the distribution and contestation of power and resources among the various groups and within different contexts.

The study found out that policy-making for social protection in Botswana is carried out in several arenas, both at community and national levels, and involves a wide range of actors including government ministries and departments, political parties, civil society and others. Further, that SP is not a political tool but rather that its provision is borne of social contract obligations. The SP policy-making process is done under the age-old Tswana democracy tenet of consensus seeking (therisanyo) as well as the principles of social justice as outlined in the country’s long-term vision plan (Vision 2016).

Presently, the government has declared its commitment to continue funding SP programmes, thus, guaranteeing its sustainability. However, given current revenue challenges, the implementation of the policy cannot be universal; thus, beneficiaries of SP programmes will have to be selected based on a means-testing evaluation.



Living arrangements and conditions of older persons in Namibia

21 Feb 2017 10:58:11 GMT

In Africa, ageing is a phenomenon that is just beginning to reveal its shape; at present, it is a family concern. Although sub-Saharan Africa’s older population is not as large in size as in other regions of the world, it must still be considered as a potential cause for concern since Africa is ageing at a time when its resources are being depleted.

In Africa, ageing is a phenomenon that is just beginning to reveal its shape. Most governments, including the Namibian government, recognize the fact that the number of older persons is on the increase, however, discussing it is still a distant phenomenon and family matter. This paper examines the living arrangements of older adults in Namibia, identifying the existing structure of living arrangements and the nature of family relationships of older people, as well as provides some basic descriptive information on the housing conditions in which older persons live and how they are associated with their socioeconomic and demographic factors. The analysis is based on 1991, 2001 and 2011 Namibia Population and Housing Censuses. The study concluded that living arrangements is constantly changing from extended family pattern to western nuclear family, mainly due to urbanisation and decreased fertility rate. Housing conditions had notably improved in rural areas while in urban areas the conditions are affected by the mushrooming of informal settlements. There is need to encourage or conduct focused research on ageing to help coin policies based on evidence and make communities sensitive towards ageing. The study further recommends Government to encourage old people to form organisations that would in turn focus on sensitising and help championing issues of ageing and aged persons.



The political economy of social protection policy uptake in Nigeria

21 Feb 2017 02:22:22 GMT

None of the recent efforts to study social protection in Nigeria have provided a detailed description of the political economy factors that enhance and prevent the uptake of social protection policies.

This study used qualitative and quantitative strategies within a political economy framework to explore the emergence and trajectory of these policies. Primary data were derived from field interviews and a survey of beneficiaries in six states selected from the six geopolitical zones in the country.

There is no overarching policy on social protection in Nigeria currently. There are pilot programmes led by the federal government and other programmes implemented in an ad hoc manner at state level. Political differences and competition between the state and federal governments have partly accounted for the slow pace in adoption of social assistance programmes. An uptake in social protection may occur only if the political leadership is convinced that it is sustainable and would enhance their political fortune.

Social assistance needs to be carried out within the context of a larger social policy framework, and knowledge about social assistance programmes needs to be diffused across all sectors. The federal government and international organisations have to promote a policy
network community and support meaningful evaluation of the existing programmes to make citizens and policy stakeholders appreciate social assistance as an effective instrument of poverty alleviation and social transformation.



Conditional cash transfers in Africa: limitations and potentials

21 Feb 2017 01:52:11 GMT

Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) are currently amongst the most popular social protection programmes for addressing
poverty, vulnerabilities, and risks of poor individuals, households and communities in developing Latin American, African, and Asian countries.
 
However, the increasing popularity and adoption of CCTs in Africa have remained highly understudied in comparison to CCTs in Latin America where they originated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For this reason, this policy brief discusses some of the current limitations and potentials of CCTs as social protection programmes for reducing poverty and developing the human capital of poor individuals, households, and communities in African countries.

The brief begins with an overview of CCTs in general with special reference to Africa in particular. It then examines some of the limitations and potentials of CCTs on the continent.
 
Recommendations:
  • African countries seeking to adopt CCTs should design, implement, and adapt such programmes with due consideration to the propriety and much needed institutional training for state and non-state officials
  • provision of adequate supply-side facilities such as quality schools and healthcare centres should be a condition for implementing CCTs and no community should be excluded from participation for lack of such facilities
  • the eligibility period for participating individuals, communities and households in CCTs should reflect the amount of time needed to fulfil basic education and healthcare needs as appropriate. Universal coverage of all those in need within each community must also supersede limited coverage
  • adequate planning and institutionalisation of programmes should be done to ensure ownership and sustainability of CCT programmes, especially in countries where programmes are funded mainly by donors. But appropriate partnership agreements for overall developmental and social protection purposes should be explored as necessary



Inclusive social protection in Latin America: a comprehensive, rights-based approach

21 Feb 2017 01:32:31 GMT

Owing to continuing severe problems in Latin America, including poverty, inequality, vulnerability, unemployment and informal employment, which worsened during the crisis of late 2008 and early 2009, Latin American countries must be urged strenuously to strengthen their social protection systems and to extend them to include those that are currently excluded, as advocated by previous ECLAC documents.
 
Boosting social protection helps to build fairer and more inclusive societies where all citizens can enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights. To achieve this, it is necessary to influence income distribution and invest in human capability. When countries succeed in harnessing the human capability of their citizens throughout their lifetimes, the gains in terms of productivity and social cohesion can be enormous.
 
This book aims to encourage dialogue on social protection in Latin America. It highlights the need for innovation in designing policies and instruments, as well as in management, in order to build comprehensive systems that provide inclusive social protection for all citizens.
 
Even though social protection has become one of the pillars of social development strategies, in Latin America there is no consistent standard. Instead, social protection has been approached in different ways and from different analytical and policy standpoints.

This book examines the principal ongoing discussions regarding social protection and co-responsibility transfer programmes, looks at the role assigned to them, identifies current policies in this field and weighs the conceptual elements, the needs and the challenges to be addressed in order to consolidate comprehensive social protection systems. The book examines the main approaches informing their design and implementation, performance and gaps in existing protection, as well as the changes that a number of countries are making to secure effective and sustainable management in this area.



Work, family and social protection: old age income security in Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam

17 Feb 2017 12:45:16 GMT

How does growing older affect a person’s income security in Asia? This question is becoming increasingly urgent in the context of rapid population ageing in the region, yet relatively limited comparative analysis has tried to answer it. This report aims to fill the gap by providing a comparative investigation of the income security of older people in five Asian countries that have diverse contexts; namely, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The report paints a picture of the multiple sources of income that contribute to income security in old age and how they interact. This has been done by mining existing survey data in each country to explore three key sources of income for older people: work, transfers from family and social protection. This marks a departure from most previous analysis of old age income security which has focused on age-disaggregated poverty data – which can only provide a relatively superficial picture of the issue. As well as providing new insights, this study highlights many weaknesses of existing data on ageing and points out opportunities for improvements in data collection and analysis.




Young women’s household bargaining power in marriage and parenthood in Ethiopia

17 Feb 2017 11:41:18 GMT

In Ethiopian government policy, marriage under the age of 18 is considered ‘early marriage’ or ‘child marriage’ and is categorised as a harmful traditional practice. Efforts to tackle harmful traditional practices in the country have been made in the name of gender equality.

In 2014, Ethiopia ranked 129 out 188 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (UNDP 2015). This is despite the government’s commitment to improve the social standing of girls and women, and the number of programmes targeting different aspects of gender inequality, from early marriage to women’s job creation, as well as attempts to change local cultural belief systems.
 
This working paper examines the factors that affect the bargaining power of young married women in marriage and parenthood in Ethiopia, where power structures remain overwhelmingly male-dominated and patriarchal. It draws on longitudinal qualitative data and survey information collected by Young Lives with children, young people and their families between 2007 and 2015.

The paper’s main focus is young women’s changing relations and analysis of their ‘bargaining power’ before and after marriage. The concept of bargaining power has been used to understand gender inequality, primarily from the field of economics, but this mainly qualitative paper takes bargaining power to mean the negotiating capacity of young married women within their marital relationships and households.

The paper argues that intra-household, social-institutional and individual factors intertwine to shape young women’s agency towards bargaining power in differing areas of their lives. Generally, factors such as urban or rural residence, education, standard of living, customs and norms combine to shape the bargaining power of young women in marriage. Decisions are usually made at a collective level, whereas agency at the individual level is often very shallow.

The study has several policy implications:
  • policies aimed at helping women exercise gender equality in marriage and even before marriage have to consider the household-level factors, individual-level factors and the wider perspective of community level factors that shape the bargaining power of women
  • policies and programmes targeted towards reducing gender inequality at the intra-household level have to also consider contexts and how cultural beliefs and norms shape the frameworks of marriage and of decision-making more broadly
  • this examination of bargaining power draws attention to the role of relationships, such that policies aimed to empower women must also work with and for those who have a stake in limiting or enhancing women’ s agency, including their mothers, husbands, other relatives and community members



The politics of promoting social protection in Zambia

17 Feb 2017 04:29:50 GMT

The rise of the social protection agenda in Zambia over the past few years seems in some ways to fit with mainstream accounts of how welfare states are likely to emergein developing countries, particularly in terms of the links to elections and pro-poor political parties. However, here the authors demonstrate that this (still incipient) policy shift flows more directly from two alternative sources, namely shifting dynamics within Zambia’s political settlement and the promotional efforts of a transnational policy coalition.

Adopting a process tracing approach, the paper compares the progress made on social cash transfers and social health insurance in Zambia. It investigates how the interplay of domestic political economy and transnational factors shaped the commitment of government to formulate and deliver the respective policies in the context of competing demands and priorities within the wider distributional regime. Despite some progress made in both policy areas, social protection has not as yet displaced certain interests, ideas and rent-allocation practices that are more deeply embedded within Zambia’s political settlement. However, given that it would be politically dangerous to remove social cash transfers from communities that have become used to receiving them, what matters now is the way in which such transfers become integrated within Zambia’s distributional regime, including whether they simply deepen its clientelist nature or start to form the basis of a new citizenship-based social contract.



Egypt’s new IMF deal comes with a huge price tag for human rights

17 Feb 2017 03:14:27 GMT

The government of Egypt has sealed a loan deal with the IMF following four years of negotiations. The impacts of the structural adjustment reforms associated with the loan raise strong human rights concerns, particularly for the status of economic and social rights in the country; aggravating employment conditions, the right to education, healthcare and to social protection.
 
The aim of the extended fund facility programme with Egypt is to restore stability and confidence in the economy. To do this, the programme supports the "government's home-grown comprehensive economic reform plan". This plan includes a range of monetary and fiscal reforms that first seek to reduce public spending, including by reforming the civil service and by reducing the public sector's role in the provision of subsidised social services. The second aim of these reforms is to increase state revenue, including by introducing a value-added tax (VAT) and by liberalising the exchange rate to shore up the country's foreign reserves and encourage foreign investment.
 
There are a number of alternative policy choices the Egyptian government can make with the support of the IMF to help address the country's economic crisis. These would avoid such huge social cost and meet international human rights obligations, offering a blueprint for a fair and equitable economic model, as has been affirmed by various UN bodies in recent years.
 
Actions to implement these recommendations could include public efforts to reform and revive the productive capacity of the state, so as to provide the foundation for a development model based on decent work and fair wages. A human rights approach to subsidy reform can also guide the government towards building a social protection model that would effectively contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty.



Population aging in India: facts, issues, and options

10 Feb 2017 10:58:43 GMT

India, one of the world’s two population superpowers, is undergoing unprecedented demographic changes. Increasing longevity and falling fertility have resulted in a dramatic increase in the population of adults aged 60 and up, in both absolute and relative terms. This change presents wide-ranging and complex health, social, and economic challenges, both current and future, to which this diverse and heterogeneous country must rapidly adapt.
 
This chapter first lays out the context, scope, and magnitude of India’s demographic changes. It then details the major challenges these shifts pose in the interconnected areas of health, especially the massive challenges of a growing burden of noncommunicable diseases; gender, particularly the needs and vulnerabilities of an increasingly female older adult population; and income security.
 
This chapter also presents an overview of India’s recent and ongoing initiatives to adapt to population aging and provide support to older adults and their families. It concludes with policy recommendations that may serve as a productive next step forward, keeping in mind the need for urgent and timely action on the part of government, private companies, researchers, and general population.



Eliminating child labour, achieving inclusive economic growth

10 Feb 2017 02:50:35 GMT

Whilst weak and unequal economic growth can also lead to child labour through its impact on poverty and labour markets, this report seeks to address the issue from a new angle: showing that eliminating child labour can in itself contribute to economic growth. This approach builds economic elements into the already strong child rights case for eliminating child labour, appealing to policy-makers who typically neglect child labour as a ‘social’ or ‘rights’ issue, when it is also an important economic one.
 
This report shows the different transmission pathways through which child labour contributes to slower economic growth, particularly where it is more prevalent. It draws clear links between eliminating child labour and the UK government’s ability to fulfil its international development objectives. Indeed, several of the UK's Department for International Development’s (DFID) policy commitments cannot be fully achieved without tackling child labour. This analysis is equally applicable to other development actors globally, including donors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
 
This report argues that a focus on ending child labour resonates strongly with the following two DFID strategic objectives:
  • promoting global prosperity: the UK government will use official development assistance (ODA) to promote economic development and prosperity in the developing world
  • tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable: the government will strive to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, and support the world’s poorest people to ensure every person has access to basic needs, including prioritising the rights of girls and women

 

 



The interplay between community, household and child level influences on trajectories to early marriage in Ethiopia

10 Feb 2017 01:10:22 GMT

Child marriage is a global concern and a priority issue for the African Union; the Ethiopian government has devised a strategy to eliminate the practice by 2025.

This paper analyses Young Lives survey and qualitative data from girls aged 19 to understand pathways to early marriage, which the authors argue can best be explained by a combination of interacting factors at community, household and individual levels.

Findings confirm that child marriage is primarily a female, rural phenomenon, with regional and local differences related to cultural norms. Early teen marriage is more common in regions in the north and is often related to family poverty. Customs of dowry in the north and bridewealth in the south present constraints, especially for teenagers from poorer families.

Household characteristics are also important; parental education, especially that of the father, reduces the likelihood of child marriage. Parental death and absence was highlighted in the qualitative case material. Household wealth was particularly significant, with less than 10 per cent of early marriages among the top tercile, and family circumstances such as ill-health and drought were compounding factors. Parental imposition of marriage was stronger and girls’ agency more limited among the younger teenage girls, whereas older teenagers were more likely to make their own marital choices.

The gender imbalance is stark, with 13 per cent of teenage girls married compared to less than 1 per cent of boys. Girls continuing with schooling were less likely to get married, but most left school first due to family poverty and problems. Paid work at 15 was found to be statistically significant as a predictor of early marriage, while case material suggests that some girls chose marriage over jobs involving hard labour. Once married, return to schooling was constrained by social norms and childcare.

The findings suggest a need to recognise that there are early marriage ‘hotspots’, and conversely other areas where the practice is declining faster and girls marrying later, which can provide important lessons for interventions. Policies should further promote girls’
education, including for already married girls, and focus more on protection for younger teenager girls who are at more risk from imposed marriages.



Parental background and child human capital development throughout childhood and adolescence: evidence from four low- and middle-income countries

09 Feb 2017 01:29:47 GMT

Although there are a vast number of empirical studies documenting a strong positive link between parental socio-economic status (SES) and child outcomes, we do not know whether these associations remain robust when other parental background dimensions are controlled.

This working paper investigates the association of child human capital indicators with a wide range of parental background dimensions across four low- and middle-income countries, and at different stages of childhood and adolescence, using data from the Young Lives cohort study in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam.

The key finding is that parental income is strongly and positively associated with child nutritional status and cognitive achievement across all countries and at all stages of childhood and adolescence, even after controlling for other background dimensions, but the same does not hold for parental education. Child non-cognitive skills across all countries and at different ages, however, are mostly predicted by the mother’s personality traits reflected in her non-cognitive skills, social capital, and aspirations for the child’s education. Associations of parental background factors with child human capital measures do not change systematically with child age, except that mother’s aspirations for child education exhibits a positive association with child cognitive and non-cognitive skills that is increasing in child age across countries.

Overall, the results suggest that policies that seek to improve the material circumstances of the household and mother’s education and socioemotional competencies may be effective in promoting child cognitive and socioemotional development in low- and middle-income countries.



Fostering inclusive growth in Malaysia

07 Feb 2017 04:10:17 GMT

Malaysia has followed a comparatively equitable development path, largely eliminating absolute poverty and greatly reduced ethnic inequality. Income and wealth inequality have gradually declined since the mid-1970s. With the “people economy” at the centre of Malaysia’s ambition to become a high-income country by 2020, the focus is shifting to the challenges of relative poverty and achieving sustainable improvements in individual and societal well-being through inclusive growth. This shift would be aided by reforms in several policy areas where Malaysia may compare favourably within its region but less so relative to OECD countries. This includes reforms to increase access to quality education, provide comprehensive social protection, raise the labour force participation of women and older persons, maintain universal access to quality public healthcare, improve pension system sustainability and adequacy and
move towards a tax and transfer system that does more for inclusiveness.



How effective are CCTs in low income settings? A review exploring factors impacting on programme outcomes in Honduras and Nicaragua

27 Jan 2017 02:51:10 GMT

Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes have been evaluated extensively and show by and large an increase of consumption amongst beneficiaries resulting in sometimes substantial reductions in poverty. Nonetheless important questions remain outstanding.

CCTs have very heterogeneous impacts in different contexts. This paper presents the findings of a systematic review of papers looking at evidence of effect of CCTs in Nicaragua and Honduras. In particular, this review wanted to look at wider contextual factors and their relationship with programme outcomes. These factors were: household characteristics and intra-household relations; programme design and delivery; supply side conditions; wider political, social and economic factors.
 
The review included 13 papers and found that:
  • household, programme and wider contextual factors shape the size and nature of programme effects
  • poorer households and communities tend to experience greater relative effects on school enrolment, and a reduction of child working hours
  • programme effects are greater when economic conditions are favourable
  • however, CCTs also help to lessen the effect of economic shock on household consumption
  • how external factors (e.g. economic shock) affect nutrition and health outcomes remains unclear
  • real and perceived dimensions of programme implementation affect participants’ incentives to comply with conditionalities
The paper further suggests that a key gap in existing knowledge is better knowledge of the causal pathways through which different household and economic factors affect the outcomes experienced.



Pro-Poor Access to Green Electricity in Kenya

11 Jan 2017 05:12:56 GMT

Is Kenya on track to follow an electrification strategy that is green and pro-poor? What are the main challenges to following this path? The two questions guiding this study are particularly relevant in a country with exceptional renewable energy resources, but where 80 per cent of the population lacks access to electricity and 50 per cent lives in poverty.

This study looks at four particular issues relating to access to green electricity for the poor: accessibility; commercial viability for project developers; financial sustainability for the State; and affordability. We will focus on grid electricity and mini-grids. For grid-connected generation, once electricity is fed to the grid, the issues of accessibility and affordability for the poor depend on national policies determining who gets electricity and at what price, making it impossible to differentiate between green and non-green electricity.

However, our study will show whether or not on-grid renewable generation can be financially sustainable in Kenya while providing affordable fees. For off-grid electricity, targeting the poor is a matter of situating generation capacity in the right places and affordability is a matter of setting prices that allow for cost recovery without being excessively expensive for the poor.

This report can support decision-making for development and climate finance institutions, as well as private investors in Kenya seeking a pro-poor green electrification strategy. It shows how to target the poor, which electrification alternatives to use, at what price, whether or not this is commercially viable and which policies would be required to make it so.




Water, Megacities and global change: portraits of 15 emblematic cities of the world

02 Dec 2016 10:22:32 GMT

Numerous studies have explored urban growth and the emergence of the megapolitan phenomenon through increasing growth in the number of cities with over 10 million inhabitants. Similarly, the processes of climate change are also the subject of study from various perspectives as part of more operational approaches or research. Rather, the objective here is to highlight the impacts of those global changes (urban growth and climate) on megacities, their resources, and their water and sanitation services. What emerges is a singular vulnerability: megacities concentrate populations, services and goods. This amplifies the consequences of water-related risks (e.g. largescale floods, lack of resources, environmental pollution and other challenges).

This overview of 15 emblematic cities calls for general mobilisation to devise the sustainable urban policies the world needs. All these urban centres share a number of common characteristics: expansive size, disparities between rich and poor districts, environmental and industrial demand that strains the natural resources of an entire region – not to mention the economic weight of the country as a whole – and a wide range of cultural, scientific and educational resources.

Cities included:

  • Beijing
  • Buenos Aires
  • Chicago
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Istanbul, Lagos
  • London
  • Los Angeles
  • Manila
  • Mexico City
  • Mumbai
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Seoul
  • Tokyo



Averting ‘New Variant Famine’ in Southern Africa: building food-secure rural livelihoods with AIDS-affected young people

02 Dec 2016 04:51:34 GMT

Southern Africa is experiencing the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates alongside recurrent food crises. This has prompted scholars to hypothesise a 'New Variant Famine' in which inability to access food is driven by the effects of AIDS. In line with this, it has been suggested that the impacts of AIDS on young people today is likely to diminish their prospects of food security in adult life. In particular, children whose parents die of AIDS may fail to inherit land or other productive assets, and transmission of knowledge and skills between the generations may be disrupted, leaving young people ill-prepared to build food-secure livelihoods for themselves. However, prior to this research, those propositions were largely untested.

The ‘Averting New Variant Famine’ research project was therefore undertaken to generate new, in-depth understanding of how AIDS, in interaction with other factors, is impacting on the livelihood activities, opportunities and choices of young people in rural southern Africa.

The research was conducted in two villages in Malawi and Lesotho, two of the worst affected countries. The fieldwork comprised four elements:

  • community and household profiling to provide a contextual understanding of livelihood responses to sickness and death, and in particular how young people are incorporated in livelihood strategies
  • participatory research with more than thirty 10-24-year-olds in each community (around half of whom were affected by AIDS) to explore their aspirations, means of accessing livelihood opportunities, obstacles faced and decision-making processes
  • semi-structured interviews with policy makers and other key informants to explore the linkages with macro-level policies and processes
  • life history interviews with more than twenty 18-24 year olds in each village to explore the factors shaping their lifecourses and livelihoods

There are a number of policy recommendations arising from the research:

  • focusing on increasing school attendance (which has hitherto been the main response to the impacts of AIDS on young people) is an inadequate response. Education needs to be much more relevant to the livelihood options available to the majority of rural youth
  • rural young people would benefit particularly from opportunities for vocational skills training, but also business education and the identification of opportunities that rely not only on the local market, if they are to engage successfully in rural enterprise
  • although fertiliser subsidies, food aid and food for work programmes are aimed principally at securing immediate subsistence rather than buildingassets for the future, they can free young people’s time and energy to devote to activities with secure long term prospects
  • equally, cash transfers, including those directed at elderly people, can help young people do business and find employment by putting more cash into local circulation
  • significantly, however, the project findings do not support the targeting of interventions specifically at AIDS-affected young people



Climate change, household vulnerability and smart agricukture: the case of two South African provinces

01 Dec 2016 04:33:41 GMT

The impact of climate change disasters poses significant challenges for South Africa especially for vulnerable rural households. In South Africa there is dearth of knowledge of the impacts of climate change at the local level, especially in rural areas. Rural households are generally poor and lack resources to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change associated disasters. The extent of vulnerability of rural households to climate change related disasters is largely not understood. A thorough and systematic examination of household vulnerability to climate change in rural areas is necessary and urgent. To minimise the impacts of climate change, there are several alternative adaptation strategies. The adaptation strategies require scientific scrutiny to establish which strategies are more cost effective and with the greatest positive impact on people’s livelihoods.The purpose of this project was to assess the micro level impacts of climate change, evaluate household vulnerability and evaluate alternative rural adaptation strategies. To evaluate the impact of climate change the DSSAT models were used to simulate the impacts of climate change scenarios on maize yields. On household vulnerability, the household vulnerability index (HVI) tools was used to identify vulnerable households, so as to provide the basis for strategic interventions as well as recommending a potential suite of fiscal and economic measures to be used to improve the resilience of communities to climate change. The cost benefits analysis was the main technique used to evaluate alternative adaptation strategies. The study focused on the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces: provinces that have been singled out as the most vulnerable to disasters.The cost benefit results suggest households need to move towards the use of drought resistant crop varieties and conservation farming. Priority should be given to drought resistant varieties, small grains, and zero tillage farming systems both in Limpopo and Eastern Cape. Practicing climate smart agriculture should be prioritised.The following recommendations are proposed:government should consider developing a household vulnerability index that will isolate households that are vulnerable to climate change and ensure that such households are well targeted. Any fiscal and financial interventions to alleviate the impact from climate change should take into account the differential vulnerabilities of rural communities and aim to support their autonomous adaptation responses. In this regard, it is recommended that the scope of the CASP grant is broadened to include mechanisms that will improve the resilience and adaptation of households that are vulnerable to climate changethe department of agriculture should support the development of a sustainable and resilient multi-purpose production system in rural areas, especially mechanisms that improve the asset base of rural households such as providing support towards strengthening livestock production; training for pasture-land management, disease control and crop-livestock husbandry and support strategies increase access to inputs, markets and financial resources, improved agricultural extension services and access to climate and weather forecast information. In addition, there is a need to promote multi-purpose crop production, small grains (Sorghum and millet), and drought and water stress tolerant crop varieties, improved agronomic practices (in-field water harvesting, and[...]



Social Protection for Sustainable Development: dialogues between Africa and Brazil

25 Nov 2016 03:42:48 GMT

Over the last few decades, Latin American countries have experienced a boom in social protection policies. This increase has been fuelled by the expansion of fiscal space as the result of steady economic growth. While many of these countries had already had some type of social security system in place, most still lacked effective policies to reduce poverty and few had public programmes offering social assistance.

Cash transfer programmes rapidly emerged in countries all over the continent, followed by other social assistance programmes focusing on vulnerable individuals and families. The design of policies or systems varies according to the context and capacity of each country. Even within a country, there is great heterogeneity in the quality of services offered. This process has rapidly shown interested countries that even when the implementation of public policies is strongly inspired by a model existing in another country, their experience will always be unique.

Africans are interested in learning more about the successful experiences of countries, such as that of Brazil, which serve as a reference and guide for developing their own pathways to social protection solutions.

The partnership between the Government of Brazil and the Government of Senegal, the African Union Commission, UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre), UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa and the Lula Institute provided the opportunity for a high-level debate at the International Seminar
on Social Protection in Dakar. In addition to Brazil and Senegal, there were representatives from Cape Verde, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Zambia and Zimbabwe at the event.

This publication registers the inputs and results of the International Seminar in Dakar. It reveals a theoretical alignment regarding the social agenda that is necessary to both African countries and Brazil, especially in regards to social protection.




Brazilian triangular cooperation in social protection: contribution to the 2030 Agenda

25 Nov 2016 03:14:35 GMT

International organizations have played a crucial role in this process by supporting the diffusion and transfer of social protection policies. However, the role of South-South Cooperation partners cannot be underestimated. Brazil’s development trajectory in the last decade has drawn the world’s attention to the country’s social protection and food and nutritional security policies.

This paper aims to analyse how can trilateral cooperation (TrC) initiatives sharing Brazilian experiences in social protection contribute to the 2030 agenda. In the last decade, social protection has gained the spotlight in development cooperation. The boundaries of social protection has expanded from a narrow understanding of safety nets to potentially encompassing a broader set of policies aimed at increasing social justice and as a redistributive measure that reaffirms the social contract of the state with its citizens. Countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America have introduced regular cash transfers and other programmes to assist poor and vulnerable citizens, with positive impacts on a range of well-being indicators for millions of people.




How pro-poor are land rental markets in Ethiopia?

15 Nov 2016 03:21:16 GMT

Land rental markets can potentially improve the access to land for land-poor households that possess complementary resources that can enable them to utilize land efficiently. Land rental markets can also enable landowners who are poor in non-land resources to rent out their land such that their land is utilized more efficiently and they themselves can get a better income and improved welfare from their land resource. This report assesses the land rental market that is dominated by a reverse tenancy system with relatively poorer landlords and less poor tenants. This market has largely developed informally in Ethiopia but has also been shaped by the changing land policies. We assess how pro-poor it is and whether interventions potentially can make it even more pro-poor and welfare enhancing or whether a “hands off” policy is preferable. If we can detect a significant market failure, there is room for intervention. However, there are also a number of current interventions in the market. We assess whether these achieve the intended outcomes or rather should be lifted or modified.

Population growth, economic growth, and structural transformation in agriculture may change the role of land from being the most important safety net and livelihood opportunity to become an important resource for agricultural transformation and development. The non-farm sector in Ethiopia has grown rapidly in recent years and provides new employment opportunities and this reduces the pressure on land as the only and main source of livelihood.

Our study of land rental markets in Ethiopia covers communities in Tigray, Oromia and SNNP regions focuses particularly on the period 2006 to 2012, but draws on data and research that goes back to 1998 in Tigray and utilizes information from landlords and tenants and other rural households with male and female representatives, local Land Administrative Committee (LAC) members and local conflict mediators with long experience in handling local land disputes.

In this report, we review the relevant literature and fill important gaps in this literature. These gaps include a) the stated reasons of landlords and tenants for partner choice and contract choice in the land rental market and their attitudes and preferences regarding regulation and formalization of land rental contracts; b) we investigate land access of youth in the land rental market; c) we assesses how joint certification of husbands and wives has affected participation in the land rental market; and d) how increasing population pressure and land scarcity affects land access and the land rental market over time.




Street based self-employment: a poverty trap or a stepping stone for migrant youth in Africa?

15 Nov 2016 02:57:16 GMT

A significant percentage of youth in urban Africa is employed in the informal sector. The informal sector is more accessible than the formal sector for people with low human andfinancial capital, such as youth migrants from rural areas. But the sector is also generally considered to provide a subsistence livelihood. This study examines whether street based selfemployment in Africa offer a stepping stone towards a better livelihood or an urban poverty trap for youth migrants. The analysis is based on data from a survey of 445 street vendors in two urban areas in Ethiopia. We found that street based self-employment is indeed dominated by migrant youth; 96% of those engaged in the street based self-employment are youth and 98% are migrants from rural areas or smaller towns. Our analysis suggests that street based selfemployment can offer a viable transitional employment for migrant youth. We found that the average monthly earning of these self-employed youth is better than the minimum wage in the public sector and much higher than the official poverty line. We found that most of the youth consider this as a transitional employment and accumulate skill and capital with a view to establishing their own enterprise or accessing skilled employment. Young women are less likely than young men to seek exit out of street based self-employment but education increases their aspiration. Youth with better-off parents back home and those with larger network in their new residence are more likely to change their current occupation. The main risk for the livelihood of youth in this type of employment is lack of legal recognition to their activities and work place, which manifest itself in the form of arbitrary eviction and displacement from their work place.




Shame, social exclusion and the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes

15 Nov 2016 02:55:59 GMT

A two year qualitative investigation of the nature and consequences of shame associated with poverty was conducted in seven settings located in rural Uganda and India; urban China, Pakistan, Korea and United Kingdom; and small town and urban Norway. The research presented results consistent with the thesis that the shame is always associated with poverty and that this may reduce personal efficacy and contribute to the duration and prevalence of poverty, a process that may be aggravated by policies that stigmatise recipients of social protection.

The research explores the contention that shame is a universal attribute of poverty which is common to people experiencing poverty in all societies. It investigates whether shame has internal and external components such that people are shamed because they are poor and feel shame due to being poor - and that both reduce individual agency and increase social exclusion.

The research initially seeks within different cultural settings to:

  • explore the social construction of shame (including its synonyms and antonyms) as expressed in public discourse
  • identify the cultural coincidence of shame and poverty as revealed in public discourse

Because personal experiences and public understanding of poverty are shaped by cultural expectations and resource constraints, the research will:

  • investigate how publics conceptualise poverty and people in poverty and whether in thought or deed they contribute to shaming people in poverty
  • explore how people directly experience poverty, social exclusion and shame and recognise connections between them



Children’s mobility in Ghana: an SBHA Special Issue

15 Nov 2016 02:18:17 GMT

Children throughout Sub-Saharan Africa are extraordinarily mobile. Every day children travel to school, to markets, to fetch water and firewood, to work on farms and take farm produce to grinding mills, as well as to visit friends and family and to play. However, children’s mobility is relatively invisible: most journeys that children undertake cover short distances and the vast majority are on foot. As such, very little research has been conducted into the extent of children’s mobility and impacts on education, livelihoods, health and well-being.

In this special issue of Society, Biology and Human Affairs, a group of Ghanian scholars co-ordinated by guest editors Drs Gina Porter and Kate Hampshire, present the results of various aspects of a larger project on ‘Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa’, by presenting a series of papers on children’s mobility in Ghana.

Research used an innovative child-centred approach, in which 70 children (aged 11-19 when they started the project) received training and supervision to conduct research on mobility issues among their peers in their home communities.

Article titles include:

  • Children’s mobility in Ghana: An overview of methods and findigns from the Ghana research study
  • Work and happiness: Children’s activities in Ghana
  • Child labour or skills training? A rights-based analysis of children’s contributions to household survival in Ghana
  • Child fostering and education in Ghana
  • Exploring the influence of household internal migration and parents’ main livelihood activities on children’s occupational aspirations in Ghana
  • Mobility and economic constraints as key barriers to children’s healthseeking in Ghana
  • Moving on two wheels

While the papers underline how mobile children in Ghana are, both on a daily basis and undertaking longer-term movements, another key issue to emerge from the study was the limitations and constraints that children face in terms of mobility. Getting to schools, health centres, markets, and other places that they need or want to go, is often very difficult. The difficulties can be particularly acute for those living in remote rural areas, but even children living in urban and peri-urban settlements often struggle to travel around their communities easily and safely. Large distances, high costs of public transport, infrequent transport services to rural areas, and dangers experienced while traveling (such as the risks of traffic accidents, or encountering hazards along the way) mean that daily journeys to school, for example, could become a major ordeal, and even unfeasible for some children.




Children, transport and mobility in sub-Saharan Africa: developing a child-centred evidence base to improve policy and change thinking across Africa

08 Nov 2016 04:58:21 GMT

This project focused on the mobility constraints faced by children in accessing health, educational and other facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, lack of direct information on how these constraints impact on children's current and future livelihood opportunities, and lack of guidelines on how to tackle them. The aim was to produce an evidence-base strong enough to substantially improve policy in the three focus countries - Ghana, Malawi and South Africa - and to change thinking across Africa.

The project successfully tested and implemented an innovative two-strand, childcentred methodology, involving both academic researchers and 70 young researchers. Research was conducted in 8 sites per country (remote rural, rural with services, periurban and urban sites in two agro-ecological zones): 24 sites in total. The qualitative data covers the themes education, health, activities and transport, based on focus groups and individual interviews with children, parents and other key informants. The survey questionnaire covers a wide range of issues with 2,967 children c. 9-18 years, allowing comparisons across sites and countries. This large dataset enables a more nuanced understanding than has hitherto been available of the way mobility and transport constraints interact with other factors to shape particular young lives in particular places. Findings cover topics from pain and negative impacts on education associated with load carrying and other work, to the virtual mobility impacts of mobile phones and the complex interconnections between mobility, gender, work and education. The findings are sufficiently substantial to allow the development of clear guidelines for policy-makers and practitioners.




What development interventions work? The long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of anti-poverty programs in Bangladesh

08 Nov 2016 03:55:42 GMT

While Government and NGOs in Bangladesh have undertaken many interventions designed to help individuals and households escape poverty, few studies have evaluated their long-term impact. Using a newly available longitudinal data set, this project attempted to: (1) assess the long-term impact of three antipoverty interventions in Bangladesh—microfinance, the introduction of new agricultural technologies, and educational transfers—on a range of monetary and non-monetary measures of well-being; (2) examine institutional and contextual factors underlying the performance of these interventions; and (3) compare their cost-effectiveness in attaining their development objectives.
 
Differences between short- and long-term impacts of the agricultural technologies arose from dissemination and targeting mechanisms; divisibility of the technology; and intrahousehold resource allocation. Programs disseminated through women’s groups, while having smaller impacts on household per capita expenditures and household assets, improved women’s asset holdings and child nutritional status. Limited coverage, lack of geographical targeting, and the declining real value of the Primary Education Stipend were responsible for the remarkably small impact of this nationwide program. Microfinance emerged as an important cause of wellbeing improvement in the qualitative work, while the impact of the PES was limited by its low monetary value.
 
The life-histories showed little long-term benefit from the agricultural technology programmes, possibly because they were bundled with microfinance and separate impacts were difficult to attribute. The project utilized an active user engagement strategy involving regular policy workshops and media coverage in Bangladesh to stimulate policy dialogue among key stakeholders and contribute to the design of future anti-poverty interventions



Identifying and tackling the social determinants of child malnutrition in urban informal settlements and slums: a cross national review of the evidence for action

08 Nov 2016 01:49:17 GMT

Urbanisation can bring many benefits the rate of change but in many developing countries the rate of change has been so fast and so dramatic that many cities have been unable to cope. Rapid, unplanned urbanisation has led to widespread social inequity and stratification, the rapid growth of informal settlements and slums, environmental degradation, heavy migrant inflows, and breakdown of the social support systems and networks.

It is not surprising, therefore, that there is a strong and well established link between child malnutrition and various dimensions of disadvantage in the urban setting. Child undernutrition has become an endemic problem in many poor urban areas of developing countries, jeopardizing the physical and mental development of growing children.

At the same time, social conditions and globalisation create the emerging risk of child overweight and obesity due to consumption of inappropriate foods, promoted as a part of the processes of globalization of food production systems, and lack of physical activity linked to changes in occupational and leisure activities. Many cities in the developing world are therefore facing a double burden of child under-nutrition and obesity and municipal governments are uniquely positioned to play a leading role in addressing these problems.

The primary aim of this structured literature review is to synthesize what is known about the effectiveness of interventions to reduce child malnutrition through changing the social determinants in poor urban areas of developing countries. The review focuses on child malnutrition because studies have shown that the early childhood years are the most critical. The importance of nutrition intervention throughout the lifecycle is also acknowledged.

A secondary aim is to draw out the implications of the findings for the further development of a three year research study known as the NICK Project (Nutritional Improvement for children in urban Chile and Kenya). This project aims to help two cities, Mombasa and Valparaiso, reduce child malnutrition in children less than five years of age living in poor urban areas of these cities by intervening at the municipal level to broaden community and stakeholder participation and provide exemplars of successful small-scale interventions that can change the social determinants. If successful, the innovative approach used in this study could serve as a useful guide for action in the cities of other high burden countries.




Development in the 'raw': What livelihood trajectories and poverty outcomes tell us about welfare regimes and resilience in Afghanistan

04 Nov 2016 04:57:43 GMT

Based on a detailed study of the lives of 64 rural Afghan households since 2002 in three contrasting parts of the country it was found that eight years on many struggle to meet day to day needs and are even worse off than before. While many have experienced improvements in access to basic services, livelihood security has declined for the majority. This has been largely due to factors outside their control such as drought, the ban on opium cultivation and rising global food prices. For the few who have improved their circumstances, largely living near Kandahar it has been mainly through diversifying out of agriculture rather than remaining in it. For those that have done best initial wealth and good political connections have provided them opportunities in the urban economy. While collective action at the village level could be supportive of poor people’s lives this was strongest where economic equalities were least. Where economic inequalities were high, as in Kandahar, village elites were largely self interested.

Public policy in Afghanistan has placed a strong emphasis on market oriented agricultural production. But for many the risks of market engagement are too high and first food security needs to be assured. There is a need for more attention to promoting rural employment, improving support for saving and insurance and building on informal means of social assistance where collective action works best. Greater attention is needed to social inequalities in programme design and implementation.




Human development and poverty reduction in developing countries

03 Nov 2016 02:46:13 GMT

The main objectives of the research financed by the DfID/ESRC grant have been: i) to better understand the processes through which human capital is accumulated in developing countries; and, ii) how this process can lead to the reduction of poverty both in the short and in the long run. More specifically, the author has been studying various aspects of the process through which poor households in developing countries make decisions that affect the accumulation of human capital.




New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence - summary paper

14 Oct 2016 03:22:41 GMT

Improving children and young people’s (CYP) wellbeing, and recognising the role they can play in creating a more sustainable world will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This timely report provides insights into how ESRC-DFID funded research has provided new knowledge that can inform and strengthen policy making in relation to CYP issues and help meet global development ambitions.

Key research findings:

  • recognising young people’s agency and the role they can play in research and policy making around the issues that matter to them most is critical
  • enhanced participation and community engagement programmes amongst the most marginalised can contribute to reduction in inequalities of new born survival rates
  • religion can have a significant impact on child wellbeing outcomes in India
  • CYP’s psychological wellbeing is positively associated with staying in school and negatively associated with entering the labour market in China. However for CYP in Tanzania there is often a clash between their perceptions of the long term gain of education and the more immediate benefits of employment
  • marriage is often viewed by both CYP and their families as a key livelihood strategy
  • young people are using mobile technologies to access services and build up social capital. They also have concerns around mobile phones and the potential negative impact on their personal safety and wellbeing



New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence

14 Oct 2016 03:12:58 GMT

This report synthesises insights on children and young people (CYP) from research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research. It identifies the major contributions the scheme has made to knowledge on CYP in low- and middle-income countries and on effective policies for promoting CYP wellbeing. It situates learning from scheme-funded research within the wider field of CYP-oriented international development research and reflects on the ways in which findings relate to contemporary
development policy agendas for CYP. The report is based on a thorough review of all available documentation and outputs related to the 126 grants funded at the start of the review period and on conversations and interviews with current grant-holders.

  • 44 grants (35% of all scheme-funded research) generated insights on children and young people. Of these two-thirds had a strong or moderate focus on CYP. Insights are diverse, with no two grants examining the same issue
  • most new knowledge has been generated on education and health, followed by livelihoods issues, transitions to marriage and sexual relationships and violence against children and young people
  • 55% of grants provide insights into the effectiveness of particular policies and programmes. Many studies address current policy dilemmas; others probe the impact of significant development trends on children and young people
  • there was a strong youth focus in these grants with 73% of grants producing knowledge on young people aged 15 and over, or on key policy issues affecting them
  • a third of research projects had achieved positive impacts on children and young people or are expected to do so

 

 




Poverty & death: disaster and mortality 1996-2015

13 Oct 2016 10:55:24 GMT

The period 1996 to 2015 saw 7,056 disasters recorded worldwide by EM-DAT, the Emergency Events Database. The frequency of geophysical disasters (primarily earthquakes, including tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions) remained broadly constant throughout this period but there was a sustained rise in climate- and weather-related events (floods, storms and heatwaves in particular) which accounted for the majority of disaster deaths in most years.

Of the 1.35 million people killed by natural hazards over the past 20 years, more than half died in earthquakes, with the remainder due to weather- and climate-related hazards. The overwhelming majority of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The poorest nations paid the highest price in terms of the numbers killed per disaster and per 100,000 population.

The global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by all UN member States in March 2015, sets a target for a substantial reduction in global disaster mortality; the statistics in this report point towards several major conclusions with implications for achieving this target:

  • the high death tolls from earthquakes, including tsunamis, over the last 20 years is a deeply troubling trend given the pace of urbanization around the world in many seismic zones. This underlines the need to promote the mainstreaming of disaster risk assessments into land-use policy development and implementation, including urban planning, building codes and investing in earthquake-resistant infrastructure, notably housing, schools, health facilities and work places. The private sector, and the construction industry in particular, need to be partners in this endeavour
  • while better data is needed on overall disaster mortality, particularly in relation to weather- and climate-related hazards in low-income and lower-middle-income countries, it is clear that there needs to be more focus on alleviating the impact of climate change on countries which contribute least to greenhouse gas emissions but which suffer disproportionate losses of life because of extreme weather events exacerbated by rising sea levels and the warming of the land and sea



Pushed aside: displaced for "development" in India

10 Oct 2016 11:41:35 GMT

By providing a first-hand account of development projects and business activities that have caused displacement across India, this report documents and analyses the scale, process and impacts of this phenomenon. It contributes to the existing body of evidence on this type of displacement and aims to raise awareness among policy-makers, business elites, academics, NGOs and operational decision-makers at the national and international level.


The report examines nine cases of displacement caused by development in the states of Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala and the national capital territory of Delhi. They reveal failed regulation, inadequate enforcement and harm to communities that extend to other cases elsewhere in India. They show that land acquisitions have pushed people aside with no regard for their rights or needs for decades. They are the result of government indifference and a failure to monitor the human rights impacts of projects and establish accountability mechanisms to address them.


The case studies for this report contribute to the global evidence base on displacement caused by development. The detrimental impacts of development projects in India highlight the need to address the issue in key policy agendas and discussions. Despite IDPs’ awareness of their rights and resistance to their eviction and displacement, they will not escape poverty without significant external support and systemic changes to social and economic policies.


Global development agendas should ensure that while development projects may alleviate poverty for some, they should not at the same time create new poor or heighten the existing economic vulnerabilities of those evicted. Neglecting those evicted and displaced would undermine the achievement of global development goals. The timescale for planning and implementing projects provides ample opportunity to avoid or minimise  displacement, and to put measures in place to ensure that those who are displaced achieve durable solutions.




The State of African Cities 2014: re-imagining sustainable urban transitions urban transitions

07 Oct 2016 03:42:44 GMT

The overarching challenge for Africa in the decades to come is massive population growth in a context of wide-spread poverty that, in combination, generate complex and inter-related threats to the human habitat. The main premise of this report is that successfully and effectively addressing the vulnerabilities and risks to which the African populations are increasingly being exposed may, perhaps, require a complete re-thinking of current urban development trajectories if sustainable transitions are to be achieved. This report is the third in The State of African Cities series.
 
It is not only Africa’s largest urban population concentrations that are becoming more prone to vulnerabilities and risks; these are actually increasing for all African settlements. This will add to the already significant social, economic and political hazards associated with Africa’s still pervasive urban poverty. The
combination of demographic pressures, rapid urbanization, environmental and climate change now appear to reinforce a host of negative urban externalities.
 
Ubiquitous urban poverty and urban slum proliferation, so characteristic of Africa’s large cities, is likely to become an even more widespread phenomenon under current urban development trajectories, especially given the continuing and significant shortfalls in urban institutional capacities. Since the bulk of the urban population increases are now being absorbed by Africa’s secondary and smaller cities, the sheer lack of urban governance capacities in these settlements is likely to cause slum proliferation processes that replicate those of Africa’s larger cities.
 
This report argues for a radical re-imagination of African approaches to urbanism, both to strengthen the positive impacts of Africa’s current multiple transitions and to improve urban living and working conditions. Africa’s population is still well below the 50 per cent urban threshold. This implies that a major  reconceptualization of its approaches to urban development can still be undertaken. Given the rapidly changing global conditions, especially those associated with environmental and climate change, looming resources scarcity and the dire need to move towards greener and more sustainable development options, Africa has the opportunity to take a global lead in innovations towards greener, healthier and more sustainable urban societies



Aligning social protection and climate resilience: a case study of WBCIS and MGNREGA in Rajasthan

07 Oct 2016 01:03:12 GMT

Social protection and climate change programmes are two public policy responses that governments use to address the challenges of poverty, climate vulnerability and gender inequality. Social protection programmes provide a safety net for households by providing cash/asset transfers and labour market instruments to address the immediate and underlying socio-economic risks facing the poor. Climate change programmes use a  range of policy, financial, technological and capacity-strengthening measures to address
climate change vulnerability. Despite the fact that most countries have comprehensive strategies for both social protection and climate change, there have been few attempts to align the two to develop more durable pathways out of poverty and climate vulnerability.

This paper is the second of two case studies that examine how aligning social protection and climate change interventions could help households manage the risks they face, and set them on a path out of poverty and into climate-resilient livelihoods. It presents a case study of the Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India, based on fieldwork in the northwestern state of Rajasthan.



Realising income security in old age: A study into the feasibility of a universal old age pension in Malawi

04 Oct 2016 12:15:51 GMT

Many governments in developing countries are setting up non-contributory programs to assist older people, most of whom are not covered by formal pension schemes. Malawi is no stranger to the international advancement of social security and social protection. That said, further analysis on the implementation and the role of social pensions in tackling old-age poverty was needed to inform government policy and practice.

The aim of the study was to address the knowledge gap of social pension reforms in Malawi. The study examined what has been learned from the programs operating in different African countries, and highlights the key policy and budgetary issues that arise. The study has concluded that social pensions represent an important component of an institutional foundation for old-age social protection.

There are affordable options for Malawi to begin expanding a universal pension in the coming years. Various scenarios exist for universal pensions costing a fraction of GDP, which could be financed through wider efforts to increase revenue for social protection spending. Malawi could then seek to
increase the coverage and adequacy of a universal pension as more revenue can be secured, and as the economy grows.

The path chosen will depend on the political will of the government, but a potential option would be:

 

  • make a start but introducing a relatively low cost scheme, such as benefit of MWK 3,720 to over 70s (a cost of 0.4 per cent of GDP). This would be in line with current levels of fiscal space, and would also allow for administrative systems to be developed gradually before rolling out to national level
  • as soon as possible, expand the scheme to all older people aged 60 years and over. This would recognise the relatively short life expectancy in Malawi, and that many of the challenges of old age can kick in relatively early
  • in the longer run, move towards a benefit level at the level of the national poverty line (approximately MWK 8,750 in 2016 prices), to ensure that no older person lives in poverty. This higher level of adequacy can be achieved both through growth of the economy, and also by devoting increased revenue to the scheme



Evidence and examples to build resilient livelihoods in the South Sudan context

29 Sep 2016 12:07:56 GMT

Building resilience to weather and conflict shocks in South Sudan requires investing inside and outside the agriculture sector in order to promote sustainable livelihoods development and income diversification. This includes strengthening productive sectors, improving basic social services, and establishing productive safety nets. Establishing productive safety nets involves providing predictable income sources to vulnerable households through cash transfers, food transfers, or paid labour within a public works programme. Furthermore,
climate change adaptation should be an integral part of the conflict prevention and food-security strategies, partly because climate change is expected to significantly increase the likelihood of future conflict.
 
DFID South Sudan is preparing a business case for the second phase of the Building Resilience through Asset Creation and Enhancement (BRACE) Programme in South Sudan. This phase is expected to start in August 2015 in order that there will be a smooth transition from phase 1. Building on learning from phase 1, phase 2 will focus more on climate adaptation and conflict sensitivity. Resilience in South Sudan mainly revolves around
food security. Phase 1 was focused on food for assets, phase 2 is looking to scaling up cash for assets; but this will need to be handled in a sensitive way given risks in the operational context.
 
To this end, the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) was invited by Evidence on Demand to undertake a rapid desk-based study to provide evidence and examples to build resilient livelihoods in the South Sudan context.

 




Mongolia: enhancing policies and practices for Ger area development in Ulaanbaatar

29 Sep 2016 03:35:54 GMT

The sustainable development of ger areas in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital city of Mongolia, is one of the critical development issues facing the country. The transition to a market economy and a series of severe winters (called zud) have resulted in the large-scale migration of low-income families into the ger areas of UB. The city represents 39 percent of the nation’s population and generates more than 60 percent of Mongolia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
 
Basic services are very limited or even non-existent in ger areas. Nearly 85 percent of ger residents use wood or coal-burning stoves for heating, in contrast to apartment buildings, which are connected to the central heating system. Ger residents must purchase water at public water kiosks, while apartment residents enjoy reliable supplies of piped-in drinking and hot water. The low density of ger areas, coupled with the extremely cold climate makes the provision of these basic public services very costly. Poor urban services have also led to environment degradation, including the pollution of air and soil, which poses such health risks as respiratory diseases and hepatitis.
 
Clearer policy directions, such as the “Compact City” concept of the UB Master Plan 2030, have emerged in recent years to control spatial expansion and promote high-density development for the ger areas. However, the government’s practices have been inconsistent. These practices are, in part, a result of limited awareness and  understanding by the general public, as well as by policy makers, of the public costs of their actions on land management. Also, many supporting mechanisms, including land valuation and taxation, have not yet been properly developed.
 
The intent of this report is to clarify the costs and benefits of different development paths. These paths include (i) conversion of ger areas into apartment building complexes; (ii) gradual improvement of urban services for existing ger areas; and (iii) further expansion of ger areas at the fringe of the city.



The Funded Pension Scheme and economic growth in Nigeria

27 Sep 2016 04:57:12 GMT

In Nigeria however, life after retirement is dreaded by most workers. The fears of facing the future after retirement create an ambiance of disturbance among employees. Retirement is seen by workers as a transition that could lead to psychological, physiological and economic problems.

This study provided evidence on the effect of the operation of the funded pension scheme since its inception in 2004 on economic growth in Nigeria using error correction mechanism (ECM) and Ordinary Least Square (OLS) methodologies.

Findings revealed that the pension fund contributions from both private and public sectors in Nigeria increased greatly and constituted a huge investment fund in the capital and money markets. This increased liquidity in the economy and created employment opportunities as well as improvement in the investment climate.

The study concluded that with good risk and portfolio management by pension fund administrators and custodians, the contributory pension has the capacity to boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria and very convenient to retirees compared to the previous defined benefit scheme.

The study however recommended the removal of delay payment, administrative bottlenecks and corruption in the management of the pension fund in order to boost economic growth in Nigeria.



Subjective well- being of Chinese elderly: a comparative analysis among Urban China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

23 Sep 2016 11:12:25 GMT

This paper investigates the relative importance of living arrangement and social participation for the elderly’s subjective well-being (happiness) in three Chinese societies (Hong Kong, urban China and Taiwan) with different levels of development. Based on comparable survey data, the authors find that co-residence with children is less closely associated with the elderly’s psychological well-being in the more developed society. The elderly in Hong Kong who live independently with a spouse are in a significantly better emotional state than those living with adult children and grandchildren. Social participation has a greater positive effect on subjective well-being among the aged in Hong Kong than among those in urban China and Taiwan.

Furthermore, elderly women may benefit more from independent living and social engagement than their male counterparts. These findings suggest that encourageing social participation among the elderly may be an effective way to enhance their well-being and achieve active ageing.




Climate change, vulnerability, food security and human health in rural Pakistan: a gender perspective

22 Sep 2016 04:59:35 GMT

Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries in the South Asian region given still overwhelming dependence of its population on agriculture which in turn mainly depends on the Indus Basin River System. The intensity and frequency of extreme climate events have increased in Pakistan during the recent decades.

In rural Pakistan, women and elderly are likely to suffer the most from adverse impacts of climate change as majority of them are engaged in/dependent on agriculture which is highly climate sensitive. Women and children are already an underpaid, overworked and exploited resource‘ and climate change will further increase this workload and accentuate their vulnerability. Yet, the gender vulnerability is one of the most ignored areas in the climate research.

This research explores the impact of climate change and gender differentiated socio-economic factors on household vulnerability. The study is based on the Climate Change Impact Survey (CCIS), 2013 data collected from 3430 farm households located in 16 districts of Pakistan representing all the major cropping systems and various categories of farms by tenancy and size of operational holding.

The results regarding health vulnerability regression model are suggestive that family composition by gender and age as well as literacy among females are important determinants of health vulnerability. It is observed that the households with higher number of younger family members are more health vulnerable. The farm households which have higher female ratio in their families are found to be more health vulnerable; whereas the households with greater ratio of educated females in the family are less health vulnerable. Finally, the results suggest that almost all climatic factors except Rabi season deviation of precipitation are important determinant of the health vulnerability and all the climatic variables enhance household level health vulnerability except the long run norm of the Kharif precipitation and Rabi-temperature which reduces health vulnerability.

The results of binary logit model estimated for food security are suggestive that family size and literacy among female members of the household are important determinants of the food security both affecting it positively and significantly. However, the composition of family by gender (female ratio) is not an important determinant of household food security. Finally, deviation of Rabi temperature from the long run norm and that of Rabi precipitation and Kharif precipitation have statistically significant effect on food security. The deviation in Rabi temperature has the adverse impact on food security as it affects wheat productivity, a staple food in Pakistan. The precipitation deviations in both the seasons have a positive impact on food security.




Means testing vs. universal targeting: assumptions of efficiency and affordability

20 Sep 2016 02:37:21 GMT

Whether social protection benefits should be assigned to all (universal) or kept only for those who meet certain criteria (targeting) remains one of the most contentious questions in social policy research. The purpose of this brief is to revisit two social policy assumptions around basic concerns of efficiency, affordability and sustainability of universal social pensions. Contrary to what many international organisations and scholars have argued, this brief forwards that universal social pensions are economically viable and efficient strategies to produce welfare and alleviate older-age income deprivations. The world clearly has the resources to implement basic social pensions on a global scale; the question is if there is also the political will to do it.

Key messages:

  • seventy-nine countries would be economically able to shift from targeted non-contributory pensions to basic universal non-contributory pensions with less than 1.2 per cent of the respective national GDPs
  • sixteen countries have means-tested/regional-tested non-contributory pensions more expensive than a hypothetical basic universal pension
  • an arbitrary threshold of “economic development” is not a limitation for implementing social pensions. At least 16 countries with a relatively low economic development have successfully implemented social pensions without targeting beneficiaries by means
  • universal social pensions are politically and economically viable and are efficient strategies to alleviate income poverty



Exploring the determinants of welfare distribution in Tunisia and Egypt using a welfare generation model

08 Sep 2016 11:59:54 GMT

The Tunisian revolution quickly sparked a wave of major uprisings in the region, starting from Egypt and spreading to other countries, such as Libya and Syria among others. Not surprisingly, the fuel of uprisings in these countries finds its main sources in inequality, in its various dimensions. Still, inequality patterns in the region are also different.

Countries such as Morocco and Tuni sia show relatively high inequality levels, while others, such as Egypt, show moderate to low inequality levels. Despite this, little is known about the sources of the differences in household welfare distribution across the MENA region countries.
 
The present paper intends to identify the main driving factors of the distribution of welfare in Tunisia and Egypt. The authors present a regression-based method to compare the labour market and demographic characteristics in both countries, as well as their impact on the distribution of consumption expenditures. For this, they develop a welfare generation model to generate estimates for the contribution of different demographics and labour characteristics for each country to welfare. This allows the authors to capture differences in both returns in employment and demographic characteristics. This paper presents the welfare generation model and its estimation results. These suggest that the most relevant factors in explaining the distribution of welfare are similar in Tunisia and Egypt. Some specific characteristics, such as education and regional characteristics have a different impact in each country.





Welfare impacts of climate shocks: evidence from Tanzania

31 Aug 2016 12:45:27 GMT

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains the world’s most food-insecure region characterized by high levels of child mortality and poverty and low levels of human and physical capital (FAO, 2009). Countries in SSA, including Tanzania, heavily depend on a smallholder-based agricultural sector, which makes their welfare and food security particularly vulnerable to climate change.

The goal of this study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the impact of weather risk on rural households’ welfare in Tanzania using nationally representative household panel data together with a set of novel weather variation indicators based on interpolated gridded and re-analysis weather data that capture the peculiar features of short term and long term variations in rainfall and temperature. In particular, we estimate the impact of weather shocks on a rich set of welfare indicators (including total income, total expenditure, food expenditure and its share in total expenditure and calorie intake) and investigate whether and how they vary by different definitions of shocks - capturing changes in levels and variations over different time periods.

The authors find that both rainfall and maximum temperature variability exert a negative impact on welfare (i.e. no consumption smoothing) and that households that have adopted SLM practices are able to achieve income-smoothing. We also find that the most vulnerable rural households are much more affected by a rainfall deficit compared to the households in the top income quantile. Results underline the key role extension services play in enhancing adaptive capacity to reduce vulnerability to adverse weather conditions, as well as the importance of targeting the most vulnerable households in policy interventions to improve food security in the face of weather shocks.




MGNREGS in Odisha: the path

25 Aug 2016 11:19:35 GMT

Over the last eight years, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) bas become an important instrument for equitable growth, livelihood support, gender parity and social security in the country. In Odisha, the Scheme has been a strong pillar of support for the rural area in their quest for livelihood security. Today, more and more beneficiaries have come forward to regard the Scheme as a means of gainful employment. It has effectively targeted the most marginalized sections of society, including women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
 
Now the State is moving towards increasing the scheme coverage, creating quality assets at the ground etc. It is strongly felt that a focused approach on implementation of MGNREGS will contribute towards the common and shared goals of empowerment of marginalized communities, and alleviation of rural poverty through creation of sustainable and productive assets. Hence the Department has brought out “MGNREGS in Odisha: The Path”
with the support of OMEGA (a DFID UK and Government of Odisha Partnership Initiative). The force field analysis made in this document to address the constraining forces in a logical way presents an interesting mosaic of different hues that would definitely provide a new flavour to MGNREGS implementation in the State.