The first article discusses the basic social policy choice of targeting
vs. universalism, i.e. whether social benefits are a basic right for all
citizens or only for the truly needy and deserving. Policy regimes are
usually somewhere between these two extremes, but where they lie on this
continuum can be decisive in spelling out individuals' life chances and
in characterizing the social order.
Then, a broad view of social protection for the poorest is presented,
which envisages social protection as having both short- and long-term
roles in poverty reduction; several illustrative project and programme
examples are presented and then highlighted in text boxes throughout the
journal in their regional context.
In South Africa, a proposal for a universal income grant has engendered
an intense debate. The implications of such a scheme are analysed in the
following article, including both poverty reduction outcomes and the
macro-economic feasibility. This is followed by an article summarising
an IPC study of conditional cash transfers in 15 African low-income
countries, and a presentation of an unconditional cash transfer pilot
scheme in Zambia.
The next region in this journal is Asia, where two new Indian laws
guarantee employment for all poor households as well as the right to
public information for full transparency; furher, a pilot programme
targeting the ultra-poor in Bangladesh shows promising results.
Then, the journal highlights the current trend in Latin America towards
targeted and conditional cash transfers. Although homegrown and
originated with domestic funding, these programmes have received
enthusiastic and substantial support from the international community,
and they are being promoted elsewhere. What are the challenges and
lessons from this region and are they transferable? Another domestic
model is provided by the targeted and comprehensive Chile Solidario
Finally, there is a bilateral donor representative's view of the role
of social protection with cash transfers in promoting pro-poor growth
and poverty reduction; also how donors are working together with
developing country partners for providing more effective support towards
Mkandawire, T.; Barrientos, A.; Hulme, D.; Moore, K.; Bhorat, H.; Son, H.; Mehrotra, S.; Britto, T.; Voipio, T. Social protection the role of cash transfers. Poverty in Focus (2006) June 2006, 20 pp.
Social protection the role of cash transfers.