The Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) has recently produced a series of country working papers which review the evidence on livelihoods, basic services and social protection in seven countries and identify key knowledge gaps.
All of the working papers found the country evidence bases on livelihoods, basic services and social protection to have particular areas of weakness. The papers revealed:
- poor understanding of the relationships between service provision, legitimacy and state-building
- little evidence on the service delivery and human wellbeing outcomes of external actors’ state-building and capacity development efforts in conflict-affected situations
- a lack of comparable and longitudinal research into how people are able to maintain or create secure livelihoods during and after violent conflict
As a result, many arguments found in the academic and policy literature, interrogated in these working papers, were found to be thinly evidenced, driven less by high quality research and more by received wisdoms. Little was shown to be known about ‘what works’ in terms of programme effectiveness.
These conclusions are supported by the findings of two forthcoming, global-focused SLRC working papers, which look respectively at the evidence on ‘growth and livelihoods’ and ‘social protection and basic services’ in conflict-affected situations around the world.
In addition to generating findings and conclusions that may help inform policy at the country level, the papers, together with a series of global and country-based stakeholder holder consultations, have been used to formulate the future research agenda of the SLRC.
Links to the country working papers are provided below, along with a taster of some of their specific focus areas and key findings.
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in Nepal pays particular attention to the country’s broad range of formal social protection initiatives, finding that, although a commendable step forward, access to social protection appears to vary across groups and, even more fundamentally, the impacts of programming remain largely unknown.
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in north-western Pakistan identifies a number of key lessons for policy and programming in terms of: the lack of consistent response to the impacts of conflict and flood displacements; the lack of understanding of local dynamics; and the lack of focus on livelihoods and markets in interventions.
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in South Sudan highlights the fact that although there is a clear need for social protection programmes, they have not yet taken off. There is also a low availability of evidence for use in policy and programme formulation, and numerous questions remain around the nature of return and reintegration of those displaced by conflict.
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in Democratic Republic of the Congo focuses on the multitude of formal and informal (or customary) institutions that local populations have to reckon and deal with on a day-to-day basis in order to access basic services, with frequently changing rules which are highly dependent on the moment and persons in power.
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in Northern Uganda and Karamoja notes that while progress is being made in the Greater North of Uganda, more targeted livelihood support and basic service and social protection provision are necessary to overcome the effects of nearly 20 years of war, displacement, abduction and the destruction of social fabric.
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in Sri Lanka suggests that Sri Lanka’s conflict has been shaped and driven by perceptions of exclusion and a lack of access to entitlements. At present, it is also unclear how post-war government policies driven primarily by economic development will help address these persisting issues.
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in Afghanistan emphasises the need to build a better understanding of the existing political and economic market-places at multiple levels in Afghanistan, highlighting the centrality of the behaviour of elites and the norms and values that underlie their behaviour. Such an understanding can then help identify the types of incentives that might drive changes in elite behaviour to help widen access to both political and economic resources and bring more formality to the informal systems which currently exist.