1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development

Employment-Centred Poverty Reduction and Social Policy in Rural Tanzania: Policy and Institutional Change

  • Project from: 2011 to 2012

This work was commissioned by the Rural Employment Team in the Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division of the FAO. By applying key insights from UNRISD's 2010 flagship report, Combating Poverty and Inequality, to the specific case of Tanzania, the project aimed to improve understanding of the linkages between macroeconomic, labour market and social policies, and their outcomes, informed by a historical understanding of the country’s development strategies, and with a focus on the rural sector. It was intended to support the Rural Employment Team's operational work on rural employment in Tanzania.

The Research Issue in Context
The 2010 UNRISD flagship report, Combating Poverty and Inequality, highlights three interrelated sets of issues for effective and sustained progress in alleviating poverty: employment-centred growth and structural change that improves incomes; comprehensive social policies that are grounded in universal rights and that are supportive of structural change, social cohesion and democratic politics; and political arrangements that ensure states are responsive to the needs of citizens and the poor have influence in how polices are made. The report makes the point that for countries with high levels of agricultural employment, progress cannot be made without improving the productivity, incomes and well-being of smallholders, whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and who can provide a strong foundation for food security.

Research Objectives and Questions
The project, which was intended to support the FAO in its operational work on rural employment in Tanzania, entailed the preparation of an analytical framework inspired by the UNRISD poverty report, Combating Poverty and Inequality. It aimed to promote and mainstream decent rural employment at the country level, with a focus on increasing employment opportunities for rural youth, and reducing and preventing child labour in agriculture, while taking into account the gender dimensions of the employment challenge in rural areas.

The report covers:
  • the structure of employment at aggregate and sectoral levels (formal/informal; agricultural/non-agricultural); the extent of unpaid work in meeting household needs, as well as trends in national household incomes;
  • labour market institutions, with a particular focus on rural employment; linkages between farm and non-farm economy, rural informal economy, green jobs, and rural migration; rural youth employment; use of child labour in agriculture and its prevention; and human resource development;
  • social protection policies and programmes, with a particular focus on those that address the plight of rural communities, and disadvantaged groups in rural areas; and
  • synergies and tradeoffs at the policy level in supporting employment, rural livelihoods and social protection towards rural transformation.

The project also addressed issues at the regional level that are important for understanding the links between rural employment and social protection (such as African Union interventions, such as NEPAD/CAAPD and Rural Futures Initiative). It identified priority topics for further research on employment policy issues in the country and at the regional level.

The project entailed the preparation of a report and analytical framework. The work was carried out by REPOA (Research for Poverty Alleviation), an independent institution located in Tanzania, in collaboration with UNRISD and the Rural Employment Team at the FAO.

Research Beneficiaries
  • FAO, Rural Employment Team in the Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division
  • FAO offices at national (Tanzania and Malawi) and regional levels
  • Bilateral donors engaged in project interventions and policy advice on rural development and poverty reduction
  • Multilateral donors and organizations
  • Government and specific governmental agencies
  • NGOs and CSOs active in rural development initiatives

Outputs and Activities
  • One project report for FAO

  • A project meeting took place in Geneva (with the participation of Research for Poverty Alleviation/REPOA, UNRISD, FAO) in January 2012.

This project was commissioned by the FAO.