Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا


CALL FOR PROPOSALS : Gender Equitable and Transformative Social Policy for Post-COVID-19 Africa (GETSPA)

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The Institute of African Studies (IAS) at the University of Ghana, with funding support from the Open Society Institutes of Africa, is calling for proposals for multi-country research that investigates the trajectories, processes and outcomes of social policymaking in Africa since the colonial period. Social policies have over the years been often consigned to a residual category in policymaking. However, the recent experience of COVID-19 illustrates that policy responses in periods of crisis usually rely on social policies for improvements in the human condition.

COVID-19 has shown that, while multi-level global crises affect all who live on the planet, both responses and impacts are highly differentiated and exacerbate gender, class and spatial inequalities. All over Africa, working people in rural and urban areas who are engaged in precarious work are facing existential challenges as a result of the contraction of economies and the limitations of state responses. These challenges are gendered. Measures such as lock-down and the closing of workplaces, educational institutions, and places of leisure and social engagements have underlined the importance of living spaces and reproductive activities.

The COVID situation has also brought into sharp relief the gender pay gap, the gender segmentation of paid work, and the burdens of reproductive and care work for women. There is also emerging evidence of a significant increase in gender-based violence. Furthermore, gender, class and spatial inequalities in access to education have come to the fore in several ways, including in the threat of increased attrition rates in education. With respect to health, there are risks that spending on reproductive health and other public health challenges will be sacrificed to COVID-19 expenditures. Such a change in focus could have negative impacts on maternal and under-5 mortality and morbidity, and result in a rise in women’s paid and unpaid care burdens for the sick as frontline health workers and in their own households.

Responses to the socio-economic effects COVID-19 from state institutions—such as water and electricity subsidies for poor households, support for businesses and the augmentation of social protection programmes targeting the poor—have exposed the possibilities and limitations of social policy as currently constituted and created. Scholars of social development have over the years focused largely on social protection programmes or sectors such as education, health, water and sanitation, employment, and housing. Much of the discussion has been on questions of access and quality. Even fewer of such studies take on a gender equity perspective and almost none are interested in the economic policy dimensions of social development. These, coupled with a dearth of social policy expertise in Africa, create a compelling need for rethinking social policy and building constituencies that work for change in philosophies and approaches to social policy.

It is against this background that this call is interested in understanding the framing and value propositions underpinning social policy; the assumptions about the role of the state, markets and society (the family and community); the interface between social and economic policies; and the socio-economic development outcomes of social policy, particularly in terms of gender, class and spatial inequalities. The project hopes to build on the outputs of this initial research a network and a programme of future research and constituency building activities toward the realization of an agenda for transformative and gender-equitable social policy for Africa’s development.

Use the links below to download the Call for Proposals in English for further details.




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