This conference is big and has been well organised by IDS. There are lots of government officials in the mix from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda to keep things grounded in the real world.
The key points for me from Day 1 after presentations from Bangladesh and Rwanda and lots of good discussion are:
- We need to think in terms of objective – in this case sustainably improving livelihoods – rather than instruments.
- We need to get better at thinking about how sectors fit together/integrate to achieve this objective.
- For social protection this will help us think through whether we are developing simple transfer programmes/public works, to be complemented by other programmes (probably in other sectors), or more integrated approaches in one programme (a la Bangladesh)
- Countries should mostly stick to the simple transfer approach – hard enough to do in itself in the real world - to provide the solid base of the social protection system. There will then also be a number of alternatives that can be built ‘on top’ – for example public works (part of social protection system), intensive or non-intensive livelihoods support (will probably not be part of social protection system), skills training etc.
- The graduation model from Bangladesh is important to learn lessons from – it is probably unlikely to be parachuted in to different country contexts intact because of cost and logistics and the fact that countries already have programmes in place (at various scales and levels of effectiveness) – but it does have something very important to say about how different programmes/sectors should fit together to sustainably improve livelihoods (and it may also be implementable in part or in whole for sub groups of the population).
- Ultimately, increasing demand for labour, goods and services in the wider economy will be the lynch pin of long term poverty reduction – but support to the poorest from the outset is key to addressing market failures (poverty traps), breaking intergenerational poverty, leaving no one behind and supporting social stability.
- It was useful to be reminded by Rachel Sabates-Wheeler and others of the need for solid, long term resilience to underpin sustainable graduation – although it doesn't always fit with donors' emphasis on short term results! As was a reminder from Michael Samson to keep thinking multi-sectorally (though I know this is hard in the day to day real world!)
Matthew Greenslade is an Economic Advisor in the Social Protection Team in DFID HQ.
This blog post is part of a series. The content of this blog series reflects the opinions of each individual author, and not necessarily those of IDS, UNICEF, DFID, IRISHAID or the Government of Rwanda.