Does Social Protection Lead to Peace?
The Transformative Potential of Social Protection to generate Peace: In Search of Evidence
by Victor Ogharanduku, Head of the social protection unit at the social protection department at the Michael Imoudu National Institute to Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria
The claim that social protection programmes have the transformative potential to create peaceful societies at the local level emerged as a thematic development policy issue early in this decade and sparked some interest. But this interest was short-lived; this potential did not strike a chord among many researchers, academia and policy makers. It rather generated wariness. However, findings from my Ph.D research study suggest that this thematic subject area should be revisited.
The evidence illustrates an indirect loose complex linkage between social protection and peace of interconnections and interrelatedness mediated by a number of socio-economic and political causal mechanisms. Four out of five dimensions of social cohesion – inclusion, participation, social relations and belonging are involved but not legitimacy and security despite the assumption that it is possible for legitimacy to be bought by welfare. Programmes played a dual role of creating and supporting productive activities which limited opportunities for violence and discouraged recruitment and engagement in violence. IGA and microcredit helped to build and sustain social relations by improving incomes and mitigating basic needs insecurities through productive activities. CDD reduced opportunities and tendencies for differences and disparities to degrade social relations through increased and improved interactions, social inclusion and participation. That afforded space and opportunity for the voiceless (excluded women, youths and elderly) to have a voice thereby increasing their sense of belonging.