Social Protection in Nigeria: Analysing Capacities

This report describes findings of an analysis of capacities to deliver social protection in Nigeria. It focuses specifically on generating findings that will be useful to situations of protracted crisis, such as displacement due to conflict or climate shocks. The report draws on a three-dimensional Capacity Cube that differentiates between levels of capacity (individual, organisational, institutional), phases of capacity strengthening (building, applying, maintaining) and types of capacity (competency, capability, performance). Analysis of government and international actors’ statements about social protection and capacity strengthening suggest that the majority of investments in capacity are focused on building individual and organisational competencies. Other elements, such as maintaining capabilities and performance, are given far less attention. This leads to an imbalanced social protection system in which activities for building technical capacities are projectised while whole-of-government, cross-sectoral functional capabilities are neglected. Overall, the paper demonstrates that using the Capacity Cube renders visible the imbalances and the gaps in investments in social protection in Nigeria. The analysis is only a first step towards changing the way that we think about capacity in situations of protracted crisis. Investigating these gaps and missing elements will require more detailed research into actual implementation that goes beyond looking at project documents. It will be important, going forward, to understand more about how these capacities shift and change – as conflicts bubble up and become protracted, and create new challenges for the staff who deliver social assistance. Understanding which capacities become increasingly important in situations of protracted crisis, and how these can be protected, could provide pathways to a more effective and efficient social protection system in Nigeria, and beyond.