On 14 June 2019, Zemzem Shigute Shuka successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled 'Essays on Evaluation of Social Protection Programmes in Ethiopia'.
Recognizing the interplay between different shocks, a recent trend in Ethiopia’s social protection landscape had been to 'bundle' various schemes and to go beyond the 'protection' motive of such schemes to try and sustainably enhance household resilience to shocks. Emblematic of this trend were the two flagship programs - the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) established in 2005, and the pilot Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) scheme launched in 2011.
In her research, Zemzem Shigute Shuka explored these programmes and their role in protecting rural households from vulnerability and exposure to different types of shocks.Her thesis consisted of four essays. The first two examined interactions between the two programmes while the last two essays analyzed whether these programmes were able to deliver quality rural infrastructure assets. That was, the first two essays dealt with the 'bundling' theme while essays 3 and 4 focused on going 'beyond social protection'.
Overall, her thesis showed that at the very least, in Ethiopia, 'bundling' of social protection schemes and community participation were scheme design factors that were worth promoting.