Social Protection in Africa: A focus on gender equality and external shocks
Social protection is a human right and a key intervention in protecting against poverty and enabling sustainable growth. As new social protection instruments are designed for new challenges, such as external shocks (climate events, natural disasters, pandemics, wars/conflicts, displacement), there is a need to understand programmes better, and to consider gender implications.
This scoping review aimed to review knowledge regarding how social protection is implemented to address gender equality and external shock in Africa and what should be considered in the expansion of these programmes. We searched five academic databases and grey literature on studies on social protection and gender equality or external shocks (climate events; natural disasters; pandemics; wars; conflicts; displacement). We conducted 12 interviews with 14 experts from international organisations, and analysed data using thematic content analysis. We reviewed 140 full-text articles. Few articles described both external shocks and gender. Studies suggested social protection could have beneficial effects for empowerment and the wellbeing of women and girls, but also during external shocks. However, many gaps in services were identified, and social protection needs to be embedded in a functioning system that can also provide complementary services. We found few evaluations of social protection during external shocks. Our interviews confirmed review findings and indicated both gaps and promising approaches in African region. Overall, the findings highlighted the importance of approaching gender equality, external shocks, and disability together, and strengthening core programmes and services.
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