Basic social protection

Cash transfers help this Zambian grandmother bring up her grandchildren

Even though social protection has been enshrined as a human right in numerous international conventions, including the United Nations Social Compact, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Women and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, eighty per cent of the world's population are not covered by any formal social protection scheme. Often, the only source of support in times of financial crises and unemployment and at old age are people’s families. Given demographic trends, however, growing economic inequality, climate change and migration patterns, many families are no longer able to protect their members against these risks.

Social protection systems in general and basic social protection in particular are gaining increasing importance in development cooperation. They mitigate against social and economic hardships and strengthen the capacities of the poor to help themselves and to move out of temporary crises. In addition, they allow people living in extreme poverty and those unable to support themselves to live their life in dignity. This is why German Development Cooperation provides support in the following areas:

  • Developing strategies for the integration of poor population groups into existing social protection systems 
  • Supporting the selection, adaptation and coordination of appropriate targeting methods (needs analyses and disbursement systems)
  • Advising on the conditioning of social transfers, the expansion of the supply side of social services, and the introduction of accompanying social policy measures (such as linkage between labour market policy and social and educational interventions, and linkage with microfinance services)

Selected readings from the Healthy DEvelopments portal

Social health protection on other German Development Cooperation websites


BMZ glossary

Close window


Share page