The Informal and Traditional Social Protection in Samoa policy brief was developed under the 'Strengthening Resilience of Pacific Island States through Universal Social Protection’ programme, a joint initiative between the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and the Governments of Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. The brief was designed to substantively review the ways in which community-based services function as local safety nets and examine their role in the overarching social protection framework of Samoa.
Despite the deep-rooted history and extensive reach of informal and traditional social protection mechanisms in Samoa, the frequency and magnitude of exogenous shocks have placed traditional support mechanisms under considerable strain. In addition, rising costs of living and inequality, urbanization, shifts in social norms, the impact of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are exerting unprecedented pressure on the effective functioning of traditional social protection mechanisms and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.
In light of these challenges, it is of vital importance to identify where protection gaps lie for the most marginalized groups as the realities and life cycle vulnerabilities of these groups are neither yet fully captured with disaggregated data nor addressed with targeted policy. To that end, this policy brief assesses how formal social protection policies could complement and strengthen informal and traditional mechanisms, with a focus on issues facing women and youth, persons with disabilities, jobseekers, school dropouts, individuals and households recovering from disasters.