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Community-based social protection as compensation for the lack of social policies:narrating a project undertaken in Burundi

Abstract : In "The Social question in the Global World »-Seeking an Effective Paradigm-Cambridge Scholars publishing-2018 Evoking the African continent in a book on social issues in Europe and in emerging countries is far from trivial. It enables a comparison between what is observed in rich and transitional countries and what exists, or might exist, in contexts where social protection policies are either absent or in their infancy. We can thus evoke predominantly community-based initiatives-be they past or re-emergent-in order to identify how these might contribute to the debate or even the implementation of public policies in Western countries concerned by the greater or lesser role played by the State. Comparing Africa and Europe also makes it possible to refer to the projects undertaken by international organisations in the social field and address the issues raised by these projects in both emerging and developing countries. More broadly, this approach addresses questions posed by the development of community-based solidarity, or conversely, its disappearance from the moment the State begins to protect-effectively or ineffectively-the citizens for whom it is responsible. A double comparison thus justifies our decision to evoke Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world, and mention a community project facilitated by a non-governmental organisation and light years away from the policies initiated by the governments of rich countries. We hope that this comparison, which is the primary objective of this book, will enable us to observe and analyse various issues which might provide a basis for further reflection in relation to countries where public policies-be they in crisis or emerging-are, logically, tools to protect everyone. We have chosen to focus on a project driven by a local NGO in four provinces in the south of Burundi. The primary objective of this NGO is to encourage the development of social protection policies initiated by the communities themselves. A priori, such an initiative might appear relatively common, notably with regard to what is often observed in many developing countries. Moreover, the approaches used by many development actors to fight against poverty have relied on the populations' involvement. We, however, present a large-scale intervention, reflecting what might be implemented across the entire country in the case of weak government. To give an account of this project and to learn from it, we will first describe the situation in Burundi; this will also explain the objective reasons behind our approach. We will then present the initiatives undertaken by this NGO in several provinces. Lastly, we will propose further avenues for reflecting on alternative approaches to social issues and social protection policies in both developed and developing countries.
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Emmanuel Matteudi. Community-based social protection as compensation for the lack of social policies:narrating a project undertaken in Burundi. The Social question in the Global World, Cambridge Scholars publishing, p. 265-281, 2018, 978-1-5275-0537-7. ⟨hal-02861793⟩

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