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From research findings to policy change

the role of parliamentarians in the promotion of social protection in southern Africa

John Rook
Josee Koch
Paul Msoma


One reason for the lack of progress in the war against poverty over the past 10 years has been the failure to identify effective drivers of change and to convince them to promote evidencebased policy change. Progress in poverty reduction over the next decade will depend as much on addressing this issue as on undertaking more research. Effective drivers of change have proven elusive, especially in underresourced and underpaid civil services, but a joint initiative in southern Africa between the Regional Hunger & Vulnerability Programme (RHVP) and the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF) to engage parliamentarians in policy dialogue on poverty and social transfers issues is starting to bear fruit in terms of increasing awareness and understanding, changing mindsets and raising the poverty and social protection agenda in national assemblies. Parliamentarians have been largely ignored in policy dialogue processes; however, their legislative, oversight and representative roles make them potentially powerful candidates for drivers of change. The demand from national assemblies, as well as individual parliamentarians, for policy dialogue engagement is overwhelming and reflects recognition on their part that they are often inadequately equipped to debate, let alone take decisions on, an expanding range of increasingly complex political, economic and social issues. A key facet of parliamentarians that makes them potentially forceful drivers of change is that, within a democratic system, they have a vested interest in delivery and performance. Policy dialogue with parliamentarians not only drives policy change but promotes good governance and accountability.

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers

Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty


1 From research findings to policy change PDF 207.9 KB

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