The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Can better social protection support inclusive development in Ethiopia?

12 March 2015

A consortium consisting of the DPU, Adi Grat University in Northern Ethiopia and the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (PENHA) have secured a grant of €298,936 from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Project Focus

The overall aim of this two-year project is to evaluate existing policies and practices and to come up with new and alternative options to accelerate livelihood improvement among the Pastoral Afar in Ethiopia.

The project focuses on designing ways by which inclusive growth could better be attained through different measures of social protection. It will do this by assessing the social institutions and the impacts of the Productive Safety Net Program in the Afar Region by mapping out challenges and policy learning opportunities.

Afar society in transition

The Afar region is arid and sparsely populated. The traditionally male dominated Afar society is currently in a state of transition. Livelihoods in the region are mainly reliant on pasotralism, but many women in particular tend to diversify their income streams to include a variety of informal urban employment activities.

This economic diversification and transformation opportunities that are presented for Afar women pastoralists in these changing times are emerging trends which need to be studied and understood properly.

The Research Team

Zeremariam Fre leads the project alongside fellow Principle Investigator Dr.Zaid of Adigrat (where he is the President of the University). They will both work closely with the other colleagues in the consortium. As well as the core collaborators, the Samara University and other relevant institutions in the Afar Regional State of Ethiopia will be heavily involved.

The programme committee of the NOW ranked the proposal top among the submissions. The fund will be managed by PENHA and formal agreements between the funder and the consortium members are being currently drawn up with the research expected to formally begin within three to four months.

Continuing a long-standing collaboration

Zere remarks, “This has been a 12 month journey involving a lot of hard work and moral support from a number of colleagues.”

“I hope this will contribute to our consolidation of partnerships with Ethiopian academic institutions, some of whom I have had a long standing association with.”

This association helped create a formal partnership in 2011 which has seen DPU MSc students visit Ethiopia to work with Mekelle University on overseas fieldwork in recent years.

Zere also put together a regional conference on Exploring Prosopis Management and Policy Options in the Greater Horn of Africa, held in Addis Ababa in November 2014.