Aim: This paper focused on the social protection activities of self-help groups in Southeast Nigeria against the background of the 2030 global agenda for sustainable development.
Study Design: Systematic review of relevant literature enabled the study.
Place: Southeast Nigeria at Latitude 5⁰N and 7⁰30′ and Longitude 5⁰E and 10⁰E.
Methodology: This study reviewed related studies and drew attention to the nexus existing among social protection, self-help groups and the sustainable development goals. More specifically, this study drew attention to the fact that the informality of self-help groups and the formality of government social protection activities should be designed by policymakers to more sustainably benefit the people in line with the achievement of the sustainable development goals and in relation to social protection. Additionally, this study focused on the current national social investment programmes in Nigeria and offered suggestions on how they can be better implemented through the agency of self-help groups.
Findings: The nexus existing among social protection, self-help groups and the sustainable development goals notwithstanding, there is no conscious effort by the government to, as a matter of deliberate policy, channel the social protection activities and services to the poor and the vulnerable through self-help groups in Southeast Nigeria. Furthermore, the government social protection activities under the national social investment programmes in Nigeria are confronted with some challenges associated with the delivery mechanism. As though it is business as usual, the challenges had confronted past social protection activities. There was no form of synergy among the self-help groups as they operated as stand alone. This lack of synergy tends to limit the possibility of the characteristically informal groups to be linked to the more sustainable formal social protection services.
Conclusion: As we look forward achieving the sustainable development goals as they relate to social protection, now is the time to think back on the sustainability of the implementation and delivery mechanism especially as it relates to reaching recipients through active and functional self-help groups.
Augustine Odinakachukwu Ejiogu
Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria.
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