Farah Al Shami, Senior Fellow and Social Protection
Program Director at the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)

This paper was initially published as part of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS)’s Bulletin’s Special Issue on “Knowledge in Times of Crisis: Transforming Research-to-Policy Approaches”. 


This article examines the challenges and opportunities that exist for the production of knowledge and the design of evidence-based policies which aim at achieving more equitable and inclusive social protection systems in the Arab region. The article builds on the experiences of researchers and activists following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and considers the challenges they faced. It examines the root causes of those challenges as related to data collection, analysis, and interpretation; the adopted research methods and approaches; the typology of researchers, research subjects, practitioners, and activists; the research outputs and the policy recommendations ensuing from them; and the policy spaces encountered when lobbying for the necessary reforms. The article proposes solutions to extend the struggle against the ‘violence of modernity’ when trying to influence policymaking, suggesting a departure from normative forms of knowledge production and advocacy on socioeconomic rights in the Arab region to more homegrown, engaged forms.

To read the article: click here

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