Anticipatory Social Protection

Claiming dignity and rights

image of Anticipatory Social Protection
The social protection landscape is currently characterised by competing discourses and agendas, given that bilaterals, multilaterals and private funders have different targets and have differing constituents whose lives they seek to improve. Critical aspects such as gender inequalities and inequities, women and children’s agency and community coping mechanisms are often not adequately addressed.

This publication introduces the Commonwealth Secretariat’s anticipatory and transformative social protection approach, which outlines the principles and strategies for advancing a gender-responsive, human rights-based approach to social protection.

It presents analysis and discussion of a framework for social protection, models of good practice from across the Commonwealth, and innovative ways of providing social protection that are not based on men and women being in full-time paid work in the formal economy.

This publication will assist policy-makers and development practitioners in making informed decisions about programme design and delivery so that beneficiaries’ access to and participation in social protection mechanisms are fully realised.




We acknowledge the policy-makers, researchers and activists who were part of the October 2011 Commonwealth Roundtable on ‘Sustaining gender-responsive social protection and economic resilience’ (London, Commonwealth Secretariat), where the collective thinking towards a framework for anticipatory social protection took root. The Roundtable saw the launch of the publication, Who Cares? The Economics of Dignity, a research journey on unpaid work in HIV care in 11 countries. We owe an immense debt of gratitude to the unpaid carers who shared the realities of living with acute time poverty and without dignity. Their stories left us grappling with more questions about the human rights of those without social protection. Hopefully this volume provides some answers.


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