in: Esther Schüring / Markus Loewe (Hrsg.), Handbook on Social Protection Systems, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 596-607
The paper examines the effects of social protection on food consumption and nutrition, two central variables in the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of the 2030 Agenda. First, it discusses the theoretical mechanisms through which different social protection schemes can influence the various indicators of food consumption and nutrition. Major attention is given to cash benefits programmes – non-contributory cash transfers (CTs) and contributory social insurance cash benefits – and food transfers. Then, the paper illustrates the empirical evidence concerning CTs in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This analysis reveals that social protection schemes paying sufficient attention to key design and implementation features, play a major role in improving food consumption and are often successful in improving diet diversification. In contrast, these programmes do not reach the last mile, i.e. improving final nutritional outcomes, when they are not integrated with other interventions addressing nutrition knowledge and behaviour, or tackling malnutrition of vulnerable groups.