ReSEP Research Reaches UNICEF’s Top List

The quality of research being done by ReSEP (Research on Socio-Economic Policy), a research group within the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University, was highlighted recently when two of their research reports were included in UNICEF’s list of the 12 best research reports published globally by UNICEF in 2014.

To have one of their reports included on this list would already be an impressive achievement, said Prof Servaas van der Berg, lead researcher and occupant of the South African National Research Chair in the Economics of Social Policy, but having two reports acknowledged in such a way is exceptional.

“Each of the approximately 180 countries with UNICEF offices annually selects three research reports for this international competition, and we know that globally some excellent researchers are engaged in some of this work.

“It is a huge feather in our cap and proof that the work we deliver is of international standard. Many of our other reports are of the same quality. We are clearly on the right track,” he added.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) collaborates with governments to try and establish policies that are more child-friendly. ReSEP works extensively in Southern African countries such as Namibia, Botswana and South Africa and two of these research reports will now been included in UNICEF’s top 12 reports of 2014:

  1. Incentives for Rural Teachers in Namibia. Researchers on this project included: 
  2. Child Poverty Traps and Social Exclusion in South Africa. Researchers on this project included: 

In the first study researchers investigated how certain incentives could help persuade graduate teachers to settle in rural areas. Although it seems as if Namibia is not experiencing too much difficulty in this regard the research team proposed certain adjustments to the incentives, especially with regards to housing.

According to Prof van der Berg, the team’s proposals were presented and discussed at meetings of education officials, teachers and principals in all the regions and have formally been accepted by the Ministry and submitted to Treasury.

The second study Child Poverty Traps and Social Exclusion in South Africa was funded by UNICEF and commissioned by the Human Rights Commission (HRC).

Researchers investigated the phenomenon known as the ‘poverty trap’ and reached certain conclusions, some of which are: The problem is most pronounced in the former homelands; central to the issue is a failing education system; grants make a difference but not enough to break the poverty trap; service delivery and social work services are not sufficient in the hardest-hit areas; and urbanisation is inevitable.

“Government should prepare itself for migration to urban areas but in the meantime necessary services should still be delivered in these rural areas,” said Prof Van der Berg.

  • Incentives for Rural Teachers in Namibia: Read the full report here.
  • Child Poverty Traps and Social Exclusion in South Africa: Read the full report here.

To read the original post about the Annual Best of UNICEF Report on the UNICEF Blog, please click here.


For more information, please contact:

  • Prof Servaas van der Berg, Distinguished Professor in Economics, on tel. 021 808 2239 or e-mail
  • Ronel Beukes, Communication and Public Relations Officer, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, on tel. 021 808 3404 or e-mail