Rights Based Social Protection in Africa

"Social protection is about providing for those in society unable to provide for themselves, the poor, the incapacitated, the unemployed, those not supposed to work such as children and women during maternity. Social protection thus deals with life’s contingencies and provides a floor or safety net to keep people from falling into poverty." (FES Zambia, 2013)

"The notion of social security covers all measures providing benefits, whether in cash or in kind, to secure protection, inter alia, from:

  • lack of work-related income (or insufficient income) caused by sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, old age, or death of a family member;
  • lack of access or unaffordable access to health care;
  • insufficient family support, particularly for children and adult dependants;
  • general poverty and social exclusion." (ILO, Glossary)

With the Africa wide programme stakeholders are supported to put social security on a legal basis. Social security has a significant development importance, promotes social justice and is a prerequisite for democratic participation and poverty reduction. The activities include government consultations, focused publications, network-based knowledge management and active networking of the stakeholders.

The project seeks to foster inter-African knowledge sharing of social security by promotion of networking, e.g. through international conferences or the building of multilingual internet-based communication platforms. The development and expansion of networks in Sub Saharan Africa creates democratic awareness and transparency in the political debate. Additionally, FES aims to emphasize gender equality and comprehensive social security coverage in political discourses.

The project promotes the expansion of social security systems in Sub Saharan Africa through rights based and legally enforceable national policies in correlation to AU and UN instruments. Moreover, civil society and trade union actors are supported in order to represent rights based social security as a contribution to social justice. Furthermore, FES aims to strengthen cooperation with the AU Commission (AUC), United Nations platforms and other continental bodies in enhancing laws around social security. The project works with four continental partners the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP), Women in Informal Economy Globalizing and Organization (WIEGO), International Trade Union Confederation Africa (ITUC) and the Africa Labour Research and Network (ALRN) to spearhead the continental project through a functional steering committee. 

The project works to achieve its objectives through stakeholder engagement in the interventions such as;

·         Policy advocacy: Engaging Governments for policy review of Social Security laws in respective countries so they are put on a legal basis and rights based for social inclusion

·         Country Workshops: Provides a platform for stakeholders engagement and social dialogue culminating into the development of country specific policy advocacy interventions

·         Annual Information Sharing and Networking Conference: This is a continental advocacy forum where project stakeholders convene to deliberate on key continental challenges on social protection and social security, share experiences, achievements and best practices whose recommendations culminate into the development of an annual plan 

·         Capacity Building: The project identifies opportunities for training of its partners to acquire relevant skills around social protection.

·         Continental Policy Advocacy: The project engages with the African Union and the United Nations platforms to steer policy advocacy for social inclusion and domestication of laws by Governments through continental partners.

FES Zambia also advocates social security for informal workers, e.g. by fostering the debate of relevant issues nationally and regionally, proposing reforms and establishing and supporting member-based organizations for informal workers.

Zambia Office

6 Nalubutu Road Off Addis Ababa Road,
Plot Number 1346,
P.O. Box 30554,

Rhodespark, Lusaka, Zambia

+260 211 295579
+ 260 211 295615-16
+ 260 211 295591


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