Eradicating Poverty: Pathways towards achieving the SDGs

  • How effective are different growth- and social protection-oriented policies in improving poverty related outcomes?

  • What mechanisms increase the relevance and quality of the delivery of social protection schemes which allow for an improved coordination of fragmented social policies?

  • Which social and political characteristics of societies in Sub-Saharan Africa hinder the implementation of effective social and growth-oriented policies?

'Eradicating Poverty: Pathways towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals' (ADAPTED) is funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and will be embedded within the innovative training network (ITN) aimed at skills and capacity building through interdisciplinary training sessions.

ADAPTED - eradicating poverty

This doctoral training framework breaks the existing silos in poverty-related research and seeks to provide new insights for adapting poverty-reduction policies and reforming governance and legal frameworks to increase the coverage of the poor and to promote their participation. The project concentrates on low and middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For whom?

The project is meant for high-achieving early stage researchers (ESRs) to bridge the existing knowledge gap in understanding poverty dynamics and by equipping the ESRs with a unique skills portfolio that is equally attractive for research institutions, development organizations and internationally active firms.

Eleven academic and four non-academic consortium partners from Germany, Turkey, France, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa will offer tailor-made research training. The project runs from 01-02-2021 to 31-12-2025 and after completing the training, the ESRs will have a unique skills portfolio and a European Joint Doctorate.

Why is this research relevant?

Eradicating extreme poverty and reducing absolute poverty is the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which states, including the European Union, have committed to achieving by the year 2030. Poverty reduction is also a critical to EU strategies targeted at low- and middle- income countries, especially in Africa.

Eradicating poverty: the first of the 17 SDGs

According to the World Bank, the number of absolute poor people will worsen because of lack of action. This means that by 2030 nine out of ten people in Sub-Saharan Africa will live in extreme poverty.

As poverty is the root cause of the spread of instability and conflict, it also prevents future development; this point is of special concern to the EU and its member states.

Progress in poverty reduction may result from economic growth that creates more and better paid jobs, from implementing social protection schemes and minimum wages that reduces inequality and from governance conditions that influence a country’s performance in reducing poverty.


Three researchers at the International Institute of Social Studies will be working on this project: Professor Wil Hout as the local project leader, and Professor Arjun Bedi and Dr Andrew Fischer as supervisors. 

In total the project has 15 consortium members consisting of European Universities, important internationally active European development organizations and think tanks and six African partner universities.

The partners involved in the project are:


Outputs will include peer reviewed academic publications, trainings provided by the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) and participation in various conferences and events organized by partner universities and organizations. Bellow is a desciption of some of the conferences the ADAPTED team has participated in.

ADAPTED group at Lisbon conference 2023

Petronilla Wandeto, Guido Maschhaupt, Ahmed El Assal co-convened this roundtable exploring new rhythms of development in the recent wave of diffusion of social assistance initiatives in Africa, particularly around the tensions and synergies emerging from the politics of patronage and dynamics of ‘rightful claims’.

PhD researcher Ahmed El Assal gave a presentation at this workshop held at the Open University, London in September 2023.

He presented his preliminary research findings from his extensive fieldwork conducted in Uganda. His research reveals that the current design of the Grievancees and Complaint Mechanisms does not consider the complexity of accountability dynamics in cash transfer programmes. Based on his findings, Ahmed argues that the decentralised rent structures, national-subnational bureaucratic dynamics, and local political institutions hinder the effective settlement of citizen's claim making in Uganda.

In March 2023, PhD researcher Ahmed El Assal gave a presentation at the University of the Western Cape.   

He introduced his research investigating tensions in the relationship between accountability initiatives and service delivery performance in Uganda. Employing a combination of a macro-political economy analysis based on the political settlement approach and a sociological grounded theory analysis of citizen's perspectives, his research explores under which conditions accountability initiatives can improve service delivery in the Ugandan case.

Blog post by PhD researchers Ahmed El Assad and Ilaha Abasli on why established research methods and training need to take account of more dynamic and situated researcher identities.

In April 2023, PhD researcher Petronilla Wandeto held a presentation at the  University of the Western Cape, South Africa. 

In her presentation, Petronilla introduced the current state of her research project titled 'Neopatrimonialism, pockets of effectiveness and pro-poor policy-making: The case of agro-industrial policy-making in Kenya and Uganda.'

Petronilla investigates productivity-enhancing political settlements in the agro-industrial sector which emerge in some neopatromnial settings in Sub-Saharan Africa. Comparing the two cases of Kenya and Uganda, she explores how the prevalent political settlements allow for the adoption and implementation of initiatives promoting agro-industrial development.

Contact the research team

Wil Hout
Email address

For more information contact the project lead, Professor Wil Hout


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 956909.

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