Reducing vulnerability through economic empowerment: a new approach to social protection in Palestine

Traditional social protection interventions are being delivered in Palestine by national and private actors, however, these interventions are unable to reach all those in need, especially people with extreme poverty. One of the social protection objectives is to graduate poor people from poverty and engage them in productive activities. There is a need to explore complementary strategies that can contribute to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of social protection. This research addresses the feasibility and efficacy of adopting economic empowerment (through micro-enterprise development) as a complementary strategy for social protection programmes, using the UNDP’s Deprived families Economic Empowerment Programme (DEEP) as a case study which provides grants for microenterprise development. The results of the research show clear improvements in the livelihood outcomes of beneficiaries, and presents strong evidence for the effectiveness of economic empowerment interventions in reducing the vulnerability of extremely poor households and protecting beneficiaries against risks. DEEP’s grants modality could be a positive promotive social protection measure that complements the national social protection interventions.