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.




What social protection might encompass is currently a contested space in the framing of the debate and the practice. There are many players and many claimants for priority social protection measures. The World Bank and other multilaterals have given strong support to CCTs as an intervention to support the poor in the adjustment process. This domination is most evident in Central and South America. In Africa the establishment of social action investment funds has been a common response especially with public works programmes. Social protection has been seen as donor driven with many short-term pilots. At the national level, administrative capacity to carry out good social protection strategies is a common problem.


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