Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It is my pleasure to write the foreword of the MENASP Spring newsletter as a member of this exciting Network involving inspiring academics, policy researchers as well as various actors in the area of Social policy in MENA.
Our current research initiative “Social protection and sustainable peace in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Building a new welfare-centred politics” is underway with opportunities for commissioning coming soon and a new E-learning course under development. We invite you to help us shape this E-learning course through the survey found here.
In these times of the COVID-19 crisis, it has never been more urgent to seek and develop fresh and relevant knowledge to inspire and contribute to policy debates about the wellbeing of all citizens of the region. In Morocco from where I’m writing, scholars of social sciences in general and social policy, in particular, are closely following the structural reform of social protection including a universal coverage extension of health insurance, unemployment benefits, child benefits and pension. This reform has been accelerated by the revealing effect of the COVID-19 crisis of the extent of vulnerability of workers and households especially those active in the informal economy (about 5.5 million households, that is more than 60% of total households in Morocco). The time frame of this reform’s implementation is between 2021 and 2025 with a budget of 55 billion MAD, that is 5.5 Billion USD. This is a large-scale reform that needs to be closely monitored by social policy scholars through both policy analysis and evaluation tools mobilizing innovative and interdisciplinary approaches.
In MENASP, we greatly encourage members and anyone interested in social policy in MENA to submit to us short texts about the current situation of social policy in MENA countries and the perspectives of researchers and policymakers alike. You can send this to email@example.com.
We also invite you to stay tuned and engaged with our mailing list for regular news about the networks including, but not limited to, Webinars see the upcoming webinar with HCDA, online communities, training and mentoring opportunities for early career researchers and commissioning news.
In the meanwhile, stay safe!
All the best wishes
Hicham Ait Mansour
University Institute of Scientific Research at Mohammed-V University of Rabat