Social protection

We are identifying the mechanisms by which the synergistic effects of social protection and direct nutrition interventions can be maximised

Our work on social protection has three components:

a) Scoping work to assess which social protection interventions in focal countries are amenable to an assessment of impact on undernutrition. During the inception phase from August 2011 to September 2012 we scoped social protection interventions in our four focal countries . We are now extending this work to include other countries with a high burden of undernutrition.

b) and c) Identify and draw lessons from evaluation of social protection and direct nutrition interventions in Ethiopia and Bangladesh. Based on the scoping work, we identified and implemented an evaluation of suitable interventions in Ethiopia, and have secured funding for a second study in Ethiopia.We also identified and implemented an evaluation of suitable interventions in Bangladesh. Both studies include localities with fragile agro-ecological conditions, and so contribute to our ‘fragility’ cross-cutting theme. Seeking to understand the mechanisms by which the synergistic effects of co-located social protection and nutrition-specific interventions can be maximised, our work draws on an RCT in Bangladesh and two evaluations that explore comparative and synergistic effects of interventions in Ethiopia. Endline data collection has just been completed in the Transfer Modality Research Initiative (Bangladesh) and research on cash transfers (Ethiopia), and analysis is underway. Initial results suggest the linking of nutrition messaging with social protection interventions improved food consumption and dietary diversity. Following dissemination of findings that suggest no impact from the PSNP on nutrition outcomes, John Hoddinott was invited to review the design document for the next phase of the programme. Some of his recommendations have been taken up – on how to encourage projects to become more nutrition-sensitive, and promoting a new objective of increasing the percentage of children under two years old who receive a minimum acceptable diet.

The Institute of Development Studies is undertaking work on a large-scale social protection intervention in Kenya, the Hunger Safety Net Programme. We will link our social protection work to this study for purposes of mutual learning and synthesis.