Social protection, broadly defined, is an interrelated set of programs and strategies designed to reduce risk, vulnerability, and deprivation by enhancing the capacity of individuals and households to protect themselves against economic, social, and health shocks. Social protection has rapidly become a pillar of development policy in resource limited countries, and is generally understood as all public and private initiatives that provide income and in-kind support, protect against livelihood risks, improve the social status of marginalized populations, and ultimately improve economic and social security of the most vulnerable populations.
Most recent data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that more than 70% of the world’s population are not covered by social protections. In some resource limited countries, it remains at less than 10% of the population. One of the most promising and tested types of social protection is in the form of cash transfers. In addition, emerging evidence of graduation model strategies to economic security demonstrates the significance of creating a multilevel social protection strategy. A multilevel approach moves individuals and households towards improved capability, transitions them out of dependency, sets economic ascent in motion, and minimizes future economic insecurity.
At GSDI, we recognize the multidimensional nature of economic security. Our work centers on interrelated and progressive strategies that are protective, preventative, promotive, and transformative (Devereux and Sabates-Wheeler, 2004). We believe that social protection should create: (a) pathways for the current poor to avoid descent into dependency and vulnerability; and (b) opportunities to minimize risks of the near poor and transform them to becoming economically independent.
Central to GSDI’s social protection core is the recognition that poverty is dynamic. Individuals and households move in and out of poverty for different reasons.
GSDI works with public and private partners to:
1. Protect the vulnerable from persistent economic insecurity through income support such as cash transfers;
2. Prevent the already marginalized from increased economic vulnerability through savings and assets;
3. Promote the poor’s capacity to develop tangible and intangible abilities through education and skills training; and
4. Transform the lives of the economically and socially excluded through financial inclusion, gainful employment, health equity, and social mobility.