Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP)

For over 30 years, responses to food insecurity in Ethiopia were dominated by emergency food aid. While this saved lives, it often failed to protect livelihoods, and this became a growing concern. In response, the Ethiopian government revised its emergency food aid system in 2005 and launched the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), a more productive approach to providing a safety net to vulnerable populations. Furthermore, between 2010 and 2014, the Ethiopian government stepped up its efforts to address both relief and development, with harmonized donor support. Through this enhanced developmental approach, the PSNP provides a safety net for households that are both chronically food insecure and poor, and often affected by shocks.With an objective to assure food consumption, and simultaneously to protect and develop assets along with services, PSNP operates across widespread geographies and rural communities to determine eligibility to receive payments based on specific criteria. Such payments are made to households that can contribute to public works (labor); or, if labor is limited or impossible, unconditional support is provided. Through this infrastructure, PSNP contributes to a local enabling environment for community development.

Making a well-targeted program of this magnitude presents many challenges. Nevertheless, through IFPRI’s research into regular, fact-based monitoring of the allocation mechanism and appropriate targeting to assess change, this has impacted decisions within communities to ensure that PSNP works as it was intended and that it continues to provide a supportive, fair, transparent, and measured mechanism to overcome food insecurity in Ethiopia’s poorest households.

Read the full report, Outcome Note and PSNP-HABP Final Report, 2014

PSNP