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Social Protection in Afghanistan: Between Conflict, Traditions and International Aid


Martine van Bijlert, in: “The Cup, The Gun and The Crescent: Social welfare and civil unrest in Muslim societies”, edited by Sarah Ashencaen Crabtree, Jonathan Parker & Azlinda Azman; Bournemouth University Press (forthcoming)

Martine van Bijlert discusses the formal and informal social protection structures in Afghanistan. Formal programmes are modest, despite the high levels of poverty and vulnerability, and generally not designed to target the poor or most vulnerable. The country’s social protection reform remains in its infancy and faces the challenges of shrinking aid budgets, institutional fragmentation, widespread corruption and political instability. As a result large parts of the Afghan population will have to continue to fend for themselves, with the combination of resilience and vulnerability that has kept them surviving just under or around the poverty line. A well-targeted social safety net programme could make a difference, but the odds seem stacked against it.

Publication available here: Social Protection in Afghanistan: Between Conflict, Traditions and International Aid

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