The development Research and Projects Centre, dRPC joined numerous others at the Conflict Research Network West Africa (CORN) Conference, held on the 8th and 9th of November 2023 at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution in Abuja, to discuss “Social Protection and Economic Uncertainties in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Societies.”
Attended by over a hundred participants from diverse backgrounds, the conference aimed to explore the intricate relationships between social protection mechanisms and economic instability in the West African region. Keynote speakers highlighted the importance of evaluating existing policies, identifying root causes of conflict, and addressing challenges such as competition for essential services during disputes. The parallel presentations delved into various aspects of social protection, including its resilience in times of crisis, political economy, gender dynamics, and the implications of social registers in poverty alleviation.
Panel discussions, participated by the dRPC Research team, led by Dr Micheal Turnwait and Kareem Abdulrazak, emphasised the need for data-driven approaches, adaptive strategies, and stakeholder coordination to overcome challenges in implementing social protection programs, especially in conflict zones. Recurrent themes were the importance of addressing the unique needs of marginalised populations, ensuring inclusivity, and avoiding political interference in aid distribution.
Highlight of the conference was the inauguration of the Nigeria CORN Committee, which marked a significant step in advancing discussions on conflict and social protection in Nigeria. The committee, comprising individuals from academia, NGOs, and government ministries, aims to conduct comprehensive research and propose strategies to address the complexities of conflicts while promoting social protection initiatives across the country. The conference concluded with critical learnings, highlighting the need for nuanced approaches to poverty dynamics, evidence-based strategies, holistic support beyond cash transfers, and strong stakeholder coordination. Despite challenges in online participation and limited media coverage, the conference was deemed successful, providing a foundation for ongoing research, policy development, and collaborative efforts to enhance social protection in fragile and conflict-affected societies, particularly in Nigeria.