Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Program (ASPP)

The Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Program (SASPP) was launched in 2014 to support the design and implementation of adaptive social protection programs and systems in six Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal). These programs aim to help poor and vulnerable households become more resilient to the effects of climate change. During its first phase (2014-19), the SASPP supported the design and introduction of new, foundational ASP systems. As of 2019, nearly 2 million people across the Sahel benefited directly from innovations and programs with SASPP support. The program is now entering its second phase (2020-25 with a focus on systematically strengthening adaptive social protection systems to enhance household resilience and expand the reach of shock response cash transfer programs, through a mix of (cross-) country innovation and knowledge work and investments in design and piloting innovations in the six countries.

The program is funded by a multi-donor trust fund managed by the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice and supported by donor contributions from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Sahel region is home to some of the poorest countries in the world. Around 40 percent of the populations of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Senegal live on less than US$ 1.90 a day. While the Sahel countries have one of the youngest and fastest growing populations globally – population sizes are expected to double by 2045 – they also have among the lowest levels of human capital in the world.

The Sahel is also highly affected by climate change and fragility, which undermine food security, the countries’ long-term development prospects, and opportunities for a good future for the next generation. Climate shocks like droughts are becoming increasingly frequent, and are affecting more people, while shorter, more intense and less predictable rainy seasons raise the risks of floods. Climate change is a severe threat to livelihoods, with more than 80 percent of the poor living in rural areas and off the land. Climate change goes hand in hand with worsening fragility and increased forced displacement.

Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) is a critical tool to help poor and vulnerable households and communities better cope and become more resilient to climate change. The “adaptive” approach integrates basic social protection interventions with disaster risk management and climate change adaptation measures. Emerging adaptive social protection systems in the Sahel combine policies and programs to help poor and vulnerable households build resilience, reduce the impact of climatic change and other shocks, and foster access to income earning opportunities. For example, drawing on climate early warning systems, countries can anticipate climate-related events such as droughts, and quickly scale up cash transfers via their social safety net programs in response. Countries in the Sahel are also drawing on their ASP systems to respond to the social and economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SASPP aims to support countries in the Sahel to strengthen their adaptive social protection systems across five “building blocks” of ASP: (1) government leadership, (2) institutional arrangements, (3) data and information, (4) programs and their delivery systems, and (5) finance. To this end, SASSP provides technical assistance, capacity building, and finances pilot interventions covering the following elements:

  • Adaptive safety nets programs that help poor households meet basic needs and diversify their livelihoods and can be easily scaled up to respond to climate-related and other types of shocks.
  • Complementary “productive inclusion” interventions like community savings and loan groups or life skills and entrepreneurship training for beneficiaries to reinforce their adaptive capabilities.
  • Investments in delivery systems (unique IDs, social registries, digital payments) as critical foundations for social safety nets to reach affected people.
  • Linkages to early warning and climate information systems to design effective emergency response and adaptation programs.
  • Design of contingency (risk) financing mechanisms to complement and support social protections systems.
  • Design and development of targeting mechanisms to identify ex-ante those most vulnerable to natural hazards and climate change related risks, and quickly scale up a program in case of necessity.
  • Monitoring systems to improve transparency, governance and accountability.

The majority of the SASPP resources are disbursed in the form of direct grants to governments for piloting innovative ASP programs. The remaining resources, managed by the World Bank, are used for creating and disseminating knowledge and “good practice” lessons across countries through the analysis of poverty, climate change risk and other sources of vulnerability and build a knowledge base on productive inclusion, shock-responsive cash transfers and on how to deliver social protection in contexts of fragility and forced displacement.  Support is also provided for impact evaluations, process evaluations, targeting analysis, and other types of assessments of government pilots and programs.

This work program is being implemented through regional and stand-alone country level activities. Country activities are designed to be an integral part of the ongoing World Bank effort in supporting the strengthening of adaptive social safety net systems through projects supported by the International Development Association (IDA). The SASPP builds on strong partnerships with other development and humanitarian partners.

Last Updated: Jun 01, 2020


Burkina Faso