Social Protection in the Afghan Context


Start date: 31 December, 2010 End date: 30 January, 2020 Project type: Smaller projects: PhD Project code: 10-098KU Countries: Afghanistan Thematic areas: Conflict, peace and security, State building, governance and civil society, Lead institution: Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Denmark Project coordinator: Jette Bjerre Kjertum Total grant: 2,922,480 DKK

Project summary

There is an emerging consensus around the view that social protection provides an effective response to poverty and vulnerability in developing countries. This finding is expressed in the growing number of national governments adopting social protection strategies. More recently social protection as a sector strategy in the context of fragile states has appeared. Social protection has been introduced as a sector in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy. Yet, it is unclear what effect such a sector strategy has in Afghanistan and to what extent the sector covers the needs of the poor and how well coordinated donors and the Afghan government are when social protection activities are implemented. It is on the other hand known that even when the donor community agrees on key policy objectives, there is often a lack of consistency in how they are applied in practice. Moreover, as broad policy objectives are pushed down the aid chain by donors, they often encounter resistance. The overall objective of this research project is to look at effectiveness of the social protection strategy in Afghanistan or in other words to see if the social protection strategy responds to the needs of poor people in Afghanistan. In order to do this questions are pursued on two levels. One level is concerning the overall question of how donor coherence within the social protection strategy plays out. The other level is on how responsive to needs actual social protection activities are.


Concerning the results in relation to both the immediate overall objectives and the outputs:
a) Field research in Afghanistan has been carried out.
However, b) the PhD thesis has not yet been handed in (please, see explanation under step 2) nor has there been a presentation for the internal review board at the University or the final public defence of the PhD.
However, formal presentations of parts of the research have been given at both the University, DIIS, and Save the Children.
Regarding the outputs the aim, is still to: a) Contribute further to an enhanced knowledge base on social protection in fragile states within academia, as there is still a great gap withinthis field. As part of my work for Save the Children, Denmark, I have participated in Save the Children International’s (SCI) working groups delivering advice on social protection in humanitarian situations and in relation to refugee populations. Advise on especially social protection and how it is incorporated in the larger scheme of protection of refugees have been given to both UNHCR and Save the Children International. I b) still plan to hand in my final PhD dissertation, although delayed. I have until now c) been part of at least 15 lectures, seminars and the like during which a presentation within the topic of the thesis was required. Finally, d) as part of DIIS agreement with Jyllands-posten, I have produced one article to the newspaper on the topic of Afghan work migration to Iran. I still hope to publish my article on ‘Protection Rev isited’ on how social protection links itself to the wider understanding of humanitarian protection and especially the aim for self-sustainability amongst refugees under the UNHCR mandate.

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