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Exit or Developmental Impact? The Role of ‘Graduation’ in Social Protection Programmes

Michael Samson*

The framework developed in this article illustrates how social protection with a developmental approach can deepen socioeconomic impact at individual and household level and effectively address apprehension over dependency. The starting point examines various definitions of ‘graduation’ within a social protection context – as exit from poverty, or from the social protection system, or alternatively as a process of continually strengthening household developmental outcomes. Appropriately designed and effectively implemented, a ‘graduation’ approach can sustainably promote dynamic outcomes, with inclusive economic expansion reinforcing poverty reduction, which in turn contributes to further growth and development. These micro-oriented initiatives will likely work best when embedded within a broader macro
development framework that integrates and strengthens the range of social and economic policy instruments implemented by government. This article maps out a path for policymakers aiming to strengthen the pro-poor and inclusive economic growth and development impacts of social protection by incorporating a graduation approach.

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