The ‘graduation’ revolution: critical consideration for the South African context.

Central to recent development discourses in the Global South1 is the role of social protection systems in poverty alleviation. Social protection was critical to the recovery post-World War II for countries in Western Europe. These social assistance mechanisms enabled Europe to address immediate challenges faced by the most vulnerable groups of their respective societies. Sixty years later, social protection programmes such as conditional cash transfers, social pension and public works programmes and in-kind transfers have been successfully implemented in varied developing countries and contexts. Bateman and Chang (2013) argue that these conditional cash transfer programmes are better suited for the poor than the provision of microcredit systems that are currently being endorsed, as they provide a consistent and predictable source of income and have an excellent record of transferring small sums of cash to those in need. In their 2010 book, Just Give Money to the Poor, Barrientos and Hulme (2010) argue that countries such as Brazil, India, South Africa and Colombia have achieved greater impact on recipients so as to enable them to address poverty, marginalisation, and disempowerment, to sustain livelihoods, and to moderate economic shocks such as loss of employment.

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