Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Middle East and North Africa Social Policy Network wins social science innovation grant

26 October 2017


A poster by the Dar Al Fatwa displaying the text 'I am an orphan and you are generous'

— The project will look at social policy development in the Middle East and North Africa region.


 The Middle East and North Africa Social Policy network (MENASP) has won a Carnegie Corporation grant for Social Science Innovation in the Arab Region. The $450,000 grant is a joint collaboration with the British Council (New York) and the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Cairo (Egypt).

The project will build the policymaking abilities of academic and student networks to advise state decision makers by working in tandem with established programs of United Nations agencies and other international organisations.

The MENASP network is convened by Dr Rana Jawad from the Centre for Development Studies and is hosted by the  Institute for Policy Research.

The Arab uprisings of 2011 created new opportunities in the region for citizens to claim their social rights, request social justice reform, advocate for improvements in welfare provision and hold their leaders to account. However, the translation of urgent social needs into sound social policy mechanisms in the Arab region continues to face significant challenges, including heightened security concerns and a lack of resolve among those who hold the reins of power.

In order to help address these challenges, the project will undertake a two-year policy analysis program which will aim to refine the understanding of social policy development in the MENA region, identify successful models of social policy design, formulation and implementation, and put forward ideas to advance and strengthen the social policy-making capacity of state and non-state actors in the Arab region.

The project will focus on the following six countries:

  • Egypt
  • Morocco
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • UAE
  • Oman

In Morocco and Egypt, the research will focus on measures to develop social assistance and safety nets. In Jordan and Lebanon, it will explore social policy challenges in relation to refugees and humanitarian needs. In the UAE and Oman, the focus will be on youth unemployment, an area of growing concern, as income from oil production threatens to decrease in the coming years.

A post-doctoral researcher will be recruited to work on the project and academics from Cairo University will participate in a one week residential in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences in Bath.

The project will end with a conference jointly co-organised between the MENASP network and the British Council in Egypt.