Social protection policy

We passionately support social protection for people in the developing world - whether in the form of cash payments, such as pensions, or insurance.

Here's why. Life in developing countries is full of risks and shocks, such as natural disasters or the deaths of breadwinners. And financial destitution can easily result.

Investing in older people and their families

Social protection provides secure incomes for people in old age and it provides long term benefits too. For instance, people often invest their payments in their family's future by educating children or setting up businesses.

Pensions are a crucial form of social protection - and we're pushing hard for governments to bring them in for all older people.

To make this vision a reality, we work closely with governments and partner organisations, as well as sharing expertise in how to design and implement pension schemes.

The difference we're determined to make

Our work includes:

  • Ensuring governments uphold the rights of older people to a secure income.
  • Pushing countries to provide pensions as part of their basic social protection system.
  • Enabling older people to voice their own demands for a basic pension.
  • Advocating for social protection to be included in the EU's development policy and programmes.
  • Engaging with all levels of the policy spectrum - from the UN Social Protection Floor Initiative to locally based older people's associations - to secure policy change for social protection
  • Identifying and addressing knowledge gaps, strengthening our evidence base and supporting the work of other agencies engaged with social protection.

Examples of our impact so far

  • Around 5 million more older people are now getting social pensions or benefits worth about £750 million per year in countries where we have been active.
  • Three more governments - the Philippines, Kenya and Paraguay - have approved new social pension schemes as a result of our work.
  • More older men and women in Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Uganda, Jamaica, Nepal are receiving existing pensions or benefits.
  • More Members of the European Parliament are championing social protection in the development policy of the EU, the world's biggest aid donor.

Striking facts

  • Globally, just over half of older people receive a pension. In low and middle income countries, one in four older people receive a pension.

  • In Brazil, inequality fell by a third between 2001 and 2007 as a direct result of cash transfers to older people and children.

  • Many older Bolivians invest their pension, and achieve returns averaging one and a half times its original value.


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