Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program, the largest scale SSN supported by the Bank in a LIC, is an example of a program that benefited greatly from multiyear capacity building, adaptation of program design over time, and exemplary donor coordination. The World Bank and other donors supported the government’s transition from a situation of annual emergency food appeals to the development of a predictable social safety net able to provide work opportunities and direct assistance to needy families during the annual drought season. A three-phase adaptable program loan has enabled the Bank to support Ethiopia continuously through financing and analytical and technical support as it prepared, supervised, and evaluated each stage. Evaluation evidence indicates that program workfare beneficiaries are more likely to be food secure, borrow for productive purposes, use improved agricultural technologies, and operate nonfarm business activities. Moreover, the program prevented beneficiary households from sliding deeper into poverty and selling household assets, thus protecting them from the worst effects of the shocks. Ethiopia has focused narrowly (and effectively) on food insecurity in rural areas but is now engaged in preparing a broader social protection strategy that will address other sources of vulnerability as well.
Sources: IEG case studies.