Addressing several themes in the social protection literature, this book makes an original and important contribution to the rapidly growing body of literature on social protection in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the themes are relatively neglected or under-researched, while some others are not usually conceptualised as social protection. These themes are organised around the major issues: informal social protection, urban social protection, social protection and physical security, social protection in unstable contexts, climate change, pastoralism, and gender. In fact, the most significant challenge this book offers to current thinking and practice is in focusing attention on local or ‘ indigenous’ mutual support systems and institutions, sometimes characterised as ‘informal’ and ‘semi-formal’ social protection mechanisms, which are undervalued or even neglected in discourses of ‘formal’ social protection policy-making and programming. From the discussions presented by the different chapters, the book draws the conclusion that although the trend towards institutionalising social protection as a core government responsibility is welcome and should be encouraged, these formal social protection mechanisms could arguably be strengthened if they acknowledge and build on local experiences and cultural norms around reciprocity and mutual support.