14 May 2024

Gender-responsive age-sensitive social protection

While social protection can profoundly improve people’s lives – ensuring well-being and addressing vulnerabilities to risks, shocks and stressors – it falls short of its potential to advance gender equality.  Women and girls face distinct risks and vulnerabilities. Harmful and discriminatory gender norms lead to gender inequalities, such as the…, GRASSP project reports, GRASSP research streams, Social protection can reduce income poverty and food and economic insecurity, address financial barriers to accessing social services, and promote positive development outcomes throughout the life course – particularly for women and girls. Social protection also has the potential to act as a vehicle for eradicating the harmful social norms, and…, Conceptualization of gender responsive age sensitive social protection, Aims to help strengthen gender responsive planning, monitoring and evaluation of social protection programmes and systems through clearer conceptualization, measurement and analysis of gender equality outcomes., Impacts of social protection programmes on gender equality outcomes, Develops evidence on the impacts of social protection on gender equality outcomes; including how and why this is achieved. This includes an exploration of the influence of design and implementation processes and contextual factors. Evidence is generated from six countries: Angola, Burkina Faso, DRC, Ethiopia, Mali and Tanzania., Institutionalization of gender into social protection systems, Investigates if and how gender can be institutionalized into social protection systems.  The research looks at factors such as political economy (for example, institutions and interests), norms and financing, along with the processes that systemic reform play, in creating social protection systems that incorporate sustainable change for gender…, GRASSP articles
01 February 2024

The Impact of Valor Criança

The Government of Angola and its Development Partners developed and implemented Apoio à Protecção Social – APROSOC (‘Strengthening and expanding social protection to the vulnerable population in Angola’) between 2014 and 2022 as a first step towards establishing a national social protection system. A key component of the programme, Valor Criança, the first-ever cash transfer programme in Angola, was a child-sensitive unconditional social cash transfer programme targeted at households with children zero- to five-year-olds in selected municipalities prone to food-insecurity. Beyond the cash, the programme adopted a cash ‘plus’ approach providing linkages to services such as support to birth registration, early childhood development, nutrition counselling, income generation activities, adolescent empowerment, and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). Evidence on the effectiveness of social assistance programmes in Angola is limited. This study addresses this evidence gap by examining the impacts of the Valor Criança programme on various domains of child and household well-being. The study also investigates the impacts on gender equality outcomes using the conceptual framework developed as part of the Gender-Responsive Age-Sensitive Social Protection (GRASSP) research programme (2018-2023) led by UNICEF Innocenti and funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The study examined in detail the following research questions: 1) What are the impacts of the Valor Criança on caregivers and children?, 2) What are the broader impacts of the Valor Criança on households?, 3) How do design and implementation features of the APROSOC and Valor Criança influence programme objectives and outcomes? and 4) How do household and caregiver characteristics shape the impact of the cash transfer programme? Lastly, the report findings help formulate policy and research recommendations in support of policy actions towards creation of a nationwide social assistance programme in Angola.
01 February 2024

The Impact of the Cash Transfer Intervention in the Commune of Nsélé in Kinshasa

In an effort to mitigate the negative socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 containment measures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNICEF and the World Food Programme initiated a cash transfer programme in the peri-urban commune of Nsélé, near Kinshasa, the capital of DRC. The intervention reached about 23,000 households in the initial humanitarian phase which lasted for 3 months, and then scaled down to reach about 16,000 of the most vulnerable households for an additional 6 months of a social protection phase. A complimentary intervention to the cash transfer trained local associations and communities in women’s leadership, women’s rights, gender-based violence and positive masculinity, and financial management of income-generating activities. This report presents the design of an impact evaluation of the intervention, the findings from the evaluation, and recommendations for policy and further research. The quantitative analysis found limited impacts of the intervention on household food security, resilience based coping, and dietary diversity which were the primary outcomes of interest. Qualitative interviews however showed more positive experiences and appreciation for the intervention. The study attributes the limited impacts of the intervention to challenges with implementation which needs to be addressed before scaling up. Important lessons about targeting will help the Government with designing the national comprehensive register for social protection.
31 January 2024

Mitigating the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 with a cash transfer in peri-urban Kinshasa

In an effort to mitigate the negative socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 containment measures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNICEF and the World Food Programme initiated a cash transfer programme in the peri-urban commune of Nsélé, near Kinshasa, the capital of DRC. The intervention reached about 23,000 households in the initial humanitarian phase which lasted for 3 months, and then scaled down to reach about 16,000 of the most vulnerable households for an additional 6 months of a social protection phase. A complimentary intervention to the cash transfer trained local associations and communities in women’s leadership, women’s rights, gender-based violence and positive masculinity, and financial management of income-generating activities. This brief presents the design of an impact evaluation of the intervention, the findings from the evaluation, and recommendations for policy and further research. The quantitative analysis found limited impacts of the intervention on household food security, resilience based coping, and dietary diversity which were the primary outcomes of interest. Qualitative interviews however showed more positive experiences and appreciation for the intervention. The study attributes the limited impacts of the intervention to challenges with implementation which needs to be addressed before scaling up. Important lessons about targeting will help the Government with designing the national comprehensive register for social protection.
01 December 2020

Social Protection and Its Effects on Gender Equality: A literature review

Globally, progress has been made in the fight against both poverty and gender inequality, including through the expansion of social protection programmes. Yet significant gaps remain. Many women and girls remain in poverty and often face different structural constraints and risks across their life course, related to their biological sex as well as entrenched gender norms that discriminate against them in many aspects of their lives. As poverty, risks and vulnerabilities – which social protection aims to minimize, reduce or tackle – are gendered, if the root causes of gender inequality are not investigated in evidence generation and addressed in policy and practice, poverty will not be sustainably eradicated, nor gender equality achieved. This paper provides an overview of the latest evidence on the effects of social protection on gender equality. It starts by considering how risks and vulnerabilities are gendered, and the implications of their gendered nature for boys’ and girls’, and men’s and women’s well-being throughout the life course. It then reviews and discusses the evidence on the design features of four types of social protection programmes – non-contributory programmes, contributory programmes, labour market programmes, and social care services – and their effects on gender equality, unpacking which design features matter the most to achieve gender equality. Finally, the paper concludes with implications for a future research agenda on gender and social protection.
01 August 2020

Childcare in a Global Crisis: The Impact of COVID-19 on work and family life

The COVID-19 crisis that has engulfed the world during 2020 challenges children’s education, care and well-being. Many parents struggle to balance their responsibilities for childcare and paid employment, with a disproportionate burden placed on women. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of families had been described as ‘a global childcare crisis’. It is estimated that over 35 million children under five years old are sometimes left without adult supervision, a factor often linked to economic pressures on parents to work. With the arrival of the pandemic, 99 per cent of the world’s 2.36 billion children found themselves in a country with some movement restrictions, including 60 per cent under some form of lockdown. This has made childcare an even greater challenge for parents. Globally, the work of childcare is done predominantly by women. This includes mothers and also other female caregivers such as grandmothers, siblings and workers in the childcare sector. In 2018, 606 million working-age women considered themselves to be unavailable for employment or not seeking a job because of unpaid care work, compared to only 41 million men. This imbalance has major implications for women’s employment and income opportunities and for children’s development and well-being. UNICEF has previously called for a set of four family-friendly policies for children in the early years, comprising paid parental leave; breastfeeding support; accessible, affordable and good-quality childcare; and child benefits. We have shown that even some of the world’s richest countries fare poorly in terms of these policies, which is a reflection of their policy priorities rather than available resources. This brief takes a global perspective on one of these four aspects – childcare in the early years. In the current context of lockdown and school closures, lack of childcare is likely to be one of the worst affected services available to families. This paper paints a picture of current progress towards ensuring that all families have access to affordable and high-quality childcare, and considers the implications of the current COVID-19 crisis for childcare globally. We show how governments and employers can help parents to address the global childcare crisis through paid parental leave, followed by accessible, affordable and high-quality childcare. COVID-19 economic recovery packages have, to date, directed the vast majority of resources to firms rather than to households. This can be changed through public provision of childcare, subsidies, social protection floors and tax incentives.
01 August 2020

Gender-Responsive Age-Sensitive Social Protection

There is significant potential for social protection systems (including policies, programmes and institutions) to promote gender equality and transformative change as a core pre-condition for long-term and sustainable poverty reduction. There is also the potential of poverty reduction to promote long-term and sustained gender equality and transformative change. Recognising this, the Gender-Responsive Age-Sensitive Social Protection (GRASSP) research programme, led by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti (hereafter UNICEF Innocenti) seeks to strengthen the gender-responsiveness of social protection systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and support shifts long-term towards gender-transformational social protection work, by building a robust evidence base focused on ‘what works’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ to contribute to enhanced gender equality outcomes across the life course. This working paper provides a concise narrative behind the graphic representation of the GRASSP conceptual framework. The framework delineates the conceptual linkages between gender (including gender risks, vulnerabilities, discrimination and inequalities, multidimensional deprivations affecting women and girls), and social protection. It proposes a systematic, holistic and integrated approach for conceptualising the intersections between gender and social protection, to achieve SDG1 (‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’) and SDG5 (‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’)1 through careful planning, design, implementation and evaluation of a gender-responsive social protection system. The GRASSP conceptual framework builds on and expands existing conceptual and theoretical efforts focused on integrating a gender lens into public policy (see for instance Holmes and Jones 2013, GAGE Consortium 2017). Building on these earlier efforts, the GRASSP conceptual framework brings together several integrated aspects related to gender, social protection, and the life course.