protection is an emerging field of interest in development policy,
as a core element of the objective to halve world poverty by 2015.
Recent work at IDS (Sussex) has helped to refine what we understand
as social protection – here, we conceive it quite broadly
to refer to all measures that assist individuals, households, and
communities to better manage the income and other risks that create
and perpetuate vulnerability. This definition moves away from the
traditional safety-nets agenda of the late 1980s and early 1990s
that focused primarily on social assistance and welfare programmes,
to include preventive and promotive intiatives that constitute ‘springboards’
out of poverty and into productive livelihoods. Social protection
can include risk management actions taken by migrants and migrants’
families themselves and services and measures provided by the state,
NGOs and other organisations.
The link between migration and social protection is twofold. First,
migration is often in itself a social protection measure –
in other words, members of poor households may migrate in response
to low incomes, food insecurity or external shocks in order to protect
the household. However, in addition, migration may also create new
social protection needs for those who migrate and for those who
are left behind.
To date, the Centre has undertaken some pilot research in Ghana
with migrant workers in the country’s pineapple-growing sector,
as well as in-depth research in Bangladesh and India (see Internal Migration). Building on this, a major new piece of empirical
work is planned for 2006-07, which will look comparatively at the
social protection mechanisms developed by internal migrants in Ghana,
and Ghanaians working abroad in Nigeria and the UK. This will be
linked to a set of other regional case studies funded by the World
Bank and DFID. This will enable a comparative study to be set up
that will focus on Malawians in South Africa and the UK.