By Dr Stephen Kidd, Senior Social Policy Specialist, Development Pathways
In recent years, there has been an increase in AusAID’s commitment to helping countries deliver social protection to vulnerable members of their society. As a member of AusAID’s Social Protection Expert Panel, I’ve been lucky enough to work with a range of AusAID staff as they grapple with the challenge of incorporating a new policy
area into their programs and activities.
I’ve worked on social protection since 2004 and it’s interesting to see how the nature of the debate has changed over the years. When I started, the focus was on trying to convince the international community and the governments of developing countries about the benefits of providing vulnerable people and families with access to regular cash transfers. It does seem a strange debate to have given that in developed countries there is ample evidence of the benefits of establishing a social security safety net. In Australia, for example, child poverty rates would more than double from 11.8 to 26.6 per cent in the absence of social protection. Indeed, debates on social protection in developed countries are not about whether it is necessary, as most recognise that it is, but rather on how it is designed.