Safety nets are a component of social protection aimed at combating poverty and the risks of poverty. Social Safety Net is a program that provides predictable and reliable support in the form of food, cash, or vouchers to people at risk of poverty, poverty, food insecurity, or other forms of deprivation (WFP, 2017). According to Subbarao et al. (1996) and Devereux (2002) cited in Khan et al. (2013), SafetyNet programs, in the form of in-kind benefits, or in cash or vouchers, by the public sector (government, donors, NGOs) or private parties (individual or group charities, informal budget agreements). Can be provided conditionally or unconditionally through.
Social safety nets had their earlier roots in Latin America (1980s) and Eastern Europe (1990s) which led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to highlight the importance of social safety net as means to address vulnerable groups.
According to Rahman et al. (2011), the first money transfer program to the poor began during the Mexico crisis (tequila crisis) in 1994, the first conditional money transfer program in Brazil began in 1995 and has since been expanded to many countries. The interest and number of countries adopting safety net programs is increasing. Social safety nets are currently available to individuals and families in 131 developing and emerging countries (Banerji & Gentilini, 2013)
Chronic food insecurity is a decisive feature of poverty that has affected millions of Ethiopians over decades. Most poor households live in rural areas. Repeated droughts and their widespread consequences are a major cause of household food insecurity, as they rely heavily on rain management for their livelihoods. Since the famine of 198384, the policy response to the threat of food insecurity has been a series of urgent calls for food aid and other forms of emergency assistance. Daniel et al., (2009). They prevented widespread famine but were hit by drought and did not deplete the resources of disadvantaged families. As a result, the number of people in need of emergency food aid increased from about 2.1 million in 1996 to 13.2 million in 2003 and decreased to 7.1 million in 2004 (World Bank, 2004).
Recognizing this situation, the Ethiopian government “launched the Food Safety Program in 2003 and the PSNP officially launched in 2005” to address food insecurity from the government and funding providers. The program is one of the largest national social protection programs in Africa with a budget of approximately $ 650 million per year and operates in seven regions with 4,444 people, the most drought-prone districts, and benefiting at least eight million people during Phase IV (mid-2015–2020). The PSNP has specific features such as: types of transfers, specific objectives, basic principles, basic components, and targeting principles (Knippenberg et al., 2017).
The overall goal of this program is to address predictable food insecurity through the invention of int, which aims to enhance home resilience and adapt to various shocks. Taking these considerations into account, we support the continuation of the program, and based on the outcomes and experiences from the various PSNP phases, the final phase of the 2015–2020 Program (PSNP4) has been developed and "to the improved people". The intended result was "improved participation". Safety Net, Benefits and Nutrition of Food-Uncertain Households” (MoARD, 2015).
Regarding the program's targeting process, the PSNP uses a mixture of geographic and community-based concentrated to identify households built on chronic foods. First, Hugh Husherlevel focused on the PSNP, which focused on the selection of households, which had a high degree of food uncertainty, and these recipients from the past of food aid were in the past. The first selection with the help of the basic criteria that program developers then verify and refines and refines the selection of domestic households on the basis taken capacity of domestic life setting (assets and income) after. However, communities received considerable discretion to change this approach and update their lists of food-built households per year based on local criteria, which can give this opportunity for households, which suddenly become more gourmets due to a serious loss of assets and not in state Support itself is included in the recipient lists (Berhane et al., 2017).
The program offers cash, cereals, or a mixture of both in practice for public works. Chronic dishes in the lifetime / beneficiaries that cannot offer work for public works receive unconditional cash or food transfer from an equivalent value that contributes through work that contribute the households and increase the period of 6 to 12 months. The program includes two components: (i) the labor-intensive Public Work (PW) component, including Temporary Direct Support (TDS) receivers, and (ii) the Permanent Direct Support (PDS) component. Personal works of the beneficiaries accounted for 86% of the 8 million beneficiaries 2016/17. The public working component covers a large part of projects municipal level, and about 60 percent of it on recovery natural resources, such as soil and water protection, and designed climate resistance in Ethiopia (Haverkort et al., 2015).
Doba District is one of the seventeen targeted districts of West Hararghe Zone, defined as chronically food insecure due to its prior experience of food insecurity and food assistance. The PSNP started since 2005 in the district by targeting about 16,456 households. But currently, the number of beneficiary households increased to 35,245 within the 40 rural kebeles of the district. Of these, 82% of the beneficiaries were public works participants while 18% of them were direct support beneficiaries in addition to PSNP; 21,053 beneficiaries were supported by emergency program. This indicates that about 32% of the district populations were supported by PSNP and emergency food aid (WHANRO, 2019). Therefore, this study was done to identify major features and impacts of the PSNP on rural household food security of Doba district in which the PSNP has operating for the last fifteen years.
A growing literature is now available on the impacts of safety net program on the rural household’s food security, particularly if they influence household’s food consumption, income, and asset value. While some studies have been carried out on the impact of PSNP in Ethiopia at national level like Anderson et al., (2009) and at district level by Habtamu (2011), Tadele (2011), Yitagesu (2014), Nesreddin (2014) and Anwar (2015) on the impacts of the PSNP focused the impact on the livestock and tree holding, HH resilience, asset accumulation, sustainable land management, food security improvement at household level, reducing vulnerability.
Anderson et al. (2009), Habtamu (2011), Tadele (2011) state that the impact of PSNP on maintaining and accumulating assets was insignificant, but rather covers the hunger deficit. In addition, the results of studies by Yitagesu (2014), Nesreddin (2014) and Anwar (2015) show that PSNP plays a significant role in preventing wasting livestock, increasing household income, and reducing poverty through increased wealth accumulation. However, different scholars have done research on impacts of PSNP on household food security both at national and local level, there are limited empirical evidence whether the program efforts have the intended impacts on household food security particularly in the study area. The objective of this study is to assess major features and impacts of productive safety net program on the livelihood of rural households for the selected study area for the last 15 years since the program was launched.