26 Days of Activism on Social Protection (2023)

The first edition of this campaign ran from 7 April (World Health Day) 2023 to 1 May (Labor Day) 2023 and was aimed at enhancing awareness, visibility, and collaboration around five key issues and challenges related to social protection in the Arab region, namely Health, Livelihoods, Inequality & Vulnerabilities, Community & Collaboration, Universal Social Protection, and Financing Social Protection.

During the inaugural version of this annual campaign, we adopted a holistic perspective that captures the need for efficient and just social protection policies and mechanisms to mitigate risks to health and livelihoods, education, shelter, and other basic needs that contribute to wellbeing and decent life standard. We highlighted that the social contract between residents and the State dictates that the latter is responsible for ensuring access to healthcare and income security for the former, although social contracts are either non-existent or extremely frail in the Arab region due to the limited manifestations of democracy. Fair, integrated, and effective social protection schemes are scarce, and those that do exist are often inadequate, exclusionary, and subject to clientelist networks, leaving people unprotected from political, socio-economic, and environmental shocks as well as multifaceted crises, of which there have been many in the region.

At ARI, we envision an Arab region in which all people, regardless of their identities, are guaranteed social protections that secure their access to essential goods and services needed to ensure human dignity and welfare, which sequentially gives them the opportunity to prosper and contribute as active members of society. To this end, we run a program dedicated to building universal social protection systems in the region, are the custodian of the Arab Region Hub for Social Protection (the Hub) and launched this annual campaign. We hope that the campaign has drawn attention to the need to shift away from short-term social assistance programs, especially those financed by debt. We hope it will inspire people to envisage and implement alternative policies that reduce growing inequalities and shield people from the loss of livelihood implications. We finally hope that this campaign has set the scene for more thematically focused and tangible versions of itself in the coming years, ultimately going beyond awareness raising and educating the public to making reforms possible despite closed policy spaces.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all activists, journalists, researchers, practitioners, decision-makers, and the public as a whole who supported us throughout this campaign. Your participation and contributions have been invaluable in spreading knowledge and advocating for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable social protection policies and programs. We hope to continue our work together to build a better future for the Arab region.


Throughout this campaign, we:

  • Highlighted core messages and information shared by specialists and stakeholders at events hosted by ARI and the Hub, as well as in articles and research papers published by both entities and their partners. No less than 200 quotes and statistics were shared on our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn). An overview of all messages is available upon request to support your development of an article or report. A random selection of 26 posts that were used during the campaign is displayed on this page.
  • Published a series of five thematic videos, each highlighting the impact of an absence of effective social protection systems.
  • Published an oral history collection, consisting of 12 interviews conducted with people belonging to different vulnerable social groups.
  • Published a series of expert interviews, conducted with specialists in the different dimensions of social policy reforms in the region and beyond.
  • Launched the Arab Region Hub for Social Protection’s website, which includes a knowledge library to support researchers, journalists, and policy makers seeking more information on social protection in the region.
  • Received more than 6 blog articles by key partners working on social protection in the region and had our research findings shared/featured by NGOs, journalists, and activists across many Arab countries.



To contact us regarding this campaign or future editions of the campaign:

Serene Dardari <s.dardari@arab-reform.net>, Director of Communications, Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)

Farah Al Shami <f.alshami@arab-reform.net>, Social Protection Program Director, Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)