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Shifting the Paradigm in the MENA region: from poor relief to inclusive social security

What type of social security is available in the MENA region?

Across the MENA region, social insurance schemes tend to provide support solely to those in the formal economy, while the rest of the population is only offered poor quality programmes for “the poor”. The dominant social security paradigm across the region excludes a large proportion of the population from social security. These people, living on middle – but still low and insecure – incomes, are the so-called “missing middle”.

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Shifting the Paradigm in the MENA region: from poor relief to inclusive social security

What type of social security is available in the MENA region?

Across the MENA region, social insurance schemes tend to provide support solely to those in the formal economy, while the rest of the population is only offered poor quality programmes for “the poor”. The dominant social security paradigm across the region excludes a large proportion of the population from social security. These people, living on middle – but still low and insecure – incomes, are the so-called “missing middle”.

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What issues are caused by leaving out the ‘missing middle’?

The alienation of this key group from social security – and other public services – has become a major challenge across middle-income countries in the region, potentially undermining trust in the state, and is increasingly a key source of public unrest.

How can we tackle these critical issues to build trust between people and their governments?

There is a dire need to shift the narrative on delivering social security in the region, to move away from the prevailing old-fashioned poor relief model and toward a modern, inclusive social security model.

What we do​

The Inclusive Social Security Policy Forum, or ISSPF, aims to de-mystify complex concepts in social protection and social security. We want to improve people’s understanding of the differences between different types of social protection programmes and their implications for achieving broader national economic and social development goals.

Through the network, ISSPF provides access to research on inclusive social security, practical tools to support organisations as they engage in national debates, opportunities to participate in trainings and events on inclusive social protection, and a blog and news space where we highlight and weigh in on pressing issues.

Our team

Shahir Ishak

Senior Social Policy Specialist

Shahir Ishak boasts more than twelve years of professional experience in the fields of rights-based development and empowerment programming of marginalised groups in Egypt and the Arab region. With advanced university degrees in both Development studies and Political Science, his extensive work background is coupled with rigorous academic practice. Shahir enjoys sports, travelling and trying new cuisines.

Khawlah Yaseen

Programme Coordinator of ISSPF

Khawlah has been active in the field of Human Rights and project management for 20 years, focusing on trade union movements, labour, youth, women’s rights and gender, sustainable development, humanitarian response and human rights in the Arab world. She was exposed to environments of community-based organisations in the rural areas that provided her a new perspective about the less-fortunate and poor living in remote rural areas. Khawlah has a master’s in international relations. She is attached to animals as she is a horse rider, and she loves to draw. 

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Untur aut mi, tentur aut eum que volut iunt omnitium re, ute aspelectures ut alibea coremquia idio. Hene culparcim evelibu saperiassit liquidus aut voluptatio consequ ideles sit hicil magnia consectia volupicipsa vendaeperum fugiaernam conse nitatem que si velessim ab ipicidis imaximi ntibus, sandamu saecuptas sinistore nihictem quos et hicatur? Quis dolessit, ut mo omnis est dignis erci beate volenimpore volorum hilit ex et volorem is

Our Team

Shahir Ishak

Senior Social Policy Specialist

Shahir Ishak boasts more than twelve years of professional experience in the fields of rights-based development and empowerment programming of marginalised groups in Egypt and the Arab region. With advanced university degrees in both Development studies and Political Science, his extensive work background is coupled with rigorous academic practice. Shahir enjoys sports, travelling and trying new cuisines.

Khawlah Yaseen

Programme Coordinator of ISSPF

Khawlah has been active in the field of Human Rights and project management for 20 years, focusing on trade union movements, labour, youth, women’s rights and gender, sustainable development, humanitarian response and human rights in the Arab world. She was exposed to environments of community-based organisations in the rural areas that provided her a new perspective about the less-fortunate and poor living in remote rural areas. She is attached to animals as she is a horse rider, and she loves to draw. 

Name Here​

TITLE​

Untur aut mi, tentur aut eum que volut iunt omnitium re, ute aspelectures ut alibea coremquia idio. Hene culparcim evelibu saperiassit liquidus aut voluptatio consequ ideles sit hicil magnia consectia volupicipsa vendaeperum fugiaernam conse nitatem que si velessim ab ipicidis imaximi ntibus, sandamu saecuptas sinistore nihictem quos et hicatur? Quis dolessit, ut mo omnis est dignis erci beate volenimpore volorum hilit ex et volorem is

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TITLE​

Untur aut mi, tentur aut eum que volut iunt omnitium re, ute aspelectures ut alibea coremquia idio. Hene culparcim evelibu saperiassit liquidus aut voluptatio consequ ideles sit hicil magnia consectia volupicipsa vendaeperum fugiaernam conse nitatem que si velessim ab ipicidis imaximi ntibus, sandamu saecuptas sinistore nihictem quos et hicatur? Quis dolessit, ut mo omnis est dignis erci beate volenimpore volorum hilit ex et volorem is

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TITLE​

Untur aut mi, tentur aut eum que volut iunt omnitium re, ute aspelectures ut alibea coremquia idio. Hene culparcim evelibu saperiassit liquidus aut voluptatio consequ ideles sit hicil magnia consectia volupicipsa vendaeperum fugiaernam conse nitatem que si velessim ab ipicidis imaximi ntibus, sandamu saecuptas sinistore nihictem quos et hicatur? Quis dolessit, ut mo omnis est dignis erci beate volenimpore volorum hilit ex et volorem is

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TITLE​

Untur aut mi, tentur aut eum que volut iunt omnitium re, ute aspelectures ut alibea coremquia idio. Hene culparcim evelibu saperiassit liquidus aut voluptatio consequ ideles sit hicil magnia consectia volupicipsa vendaeperum fugiaernam conse nitatem que si velessim ab ipicidis imaximi ntibus, sandamu saecuptas sinistore nihictem quos et hicatur? Quis dolessit, ut mo omnis est dignis erci beate volenimpore volorum hilit ex et volorem is

Publications

We are developing the evidence that shows inclusive social security works.

Events

Join our discussions, training and regional events.

News

We bring together the latest news from ISSPF and the MENA region.

Blog

Commentary from our partner organisations on social security issues.

Founding members

Development Pathways Logo

Development Pathways

Development Pathways

Made possible with funding from the Ford Foundation, ISSPF is implemented by Development Pathways in partnership with Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) in Jordan and Observatoire Tunisien de l'Economie in Tunisia.
Partner website
The Centre for Social Sciences Research & Action Logo

The Centre for Social Sciences Research & Action

The Centre for Social Sciences Research & Action

CeSSRA is a research centre based in Beirut, formerly known as Lebanon Support. The NGO aims to foster social change through innovative uses of social science, digital technologies, publication and the exchange of knowledge.
Partner website
Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development Logo

Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

ARDD is a civil society organisation founded in 2008 in Amman, Jordan. The team aims to address the challenges faced by the Arab world through encouraging dialogue, research, education, training, youth empowerment, gender justice, social and economic development, in addition to the provision of relief, social protection services and direct legal assistance.
Partner website
Observatoire Tunisien de l'Economie Logo

Observatoire Tunisien de l'Economie

Observatoire Tunisien de l'Economie

Observatoire Tunisien de l'Economie is the result of a 2012 initiative undertaken by researchers, analysts and activists concerned about Tunisian public policies. The organisation seeks to provide guidance to citizens with regard to economic policies and their impact on development through independent, objective, documented and critical information.
Partner website

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