Social protection, rural development and the role of public administration in Ethiopia : an examination of the potential for developing employment generation schemes
Over fifty per cent of the population of Ethiopia live below the poverty line and are therefore food insecure. Increasingly viewed as an important component of poverty reduction, social protection policies, such as the promotion of labour intensive public works, can serve as a springboard for pro-poor growth and a foundation for social risk management. The research assesses the Ethiopian Employment Generation Scheme (EGS) in the context of Amhara and Tigrai regional states through comparative research into Maharashtran experience. The aim of the research is to assess the implementation of EGS programmes against the objectives of the national policy and to examine the role of public administration in delivering social protection through EGS thereby reducing poverty levels by supporting sustainable rural livelihoods. The national policy seeks to effectively harness a potential 150 million labour days on the basis of existing relief resources alone thereby creating livelihood assets. However, social protection is often considered to be a high cost, low returns component of democratic governance. Experience highlights poor performance in planning and implementation. Reforms must be based on informed and applied study of the areas explored in the research: policy frameworks; implementation; organisational responsibilities; programme efficiency, effectiveness and relevance; short and long term impact; and. sustainability. Such research necessitates a sensitive combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Research findings show that the national policy provides an appropriate pro-poor framework for employment provision and asset creation while essential supportive measures have been neglected. Grassroots administrations remain incapacitated and central support for reform is often lacking. The research establishes a clear set of conclusions and recommendations for reform acknowledging the requirement for a decentralised, demand driven approach to policy design and expenditure management which promotes the comparative advantage of the poor and mainstreams EGS into other strategies for poverty reduction.