Social protection is commonly understood as “all public and private initiatives that provide income or consumption transfers to the poor, protect the vulnerable against livelihood risks and enhance the social status and rights of the marginalised; with the overall objective of reducing the economic and social vulnerability of poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups”(Devereux & Sabates-Wheeler, 2004: i).This guide provides an overview of social protection concepts, approaches, issues, debates and the evidence. It primarily focuses on longer-term developmental social protection, rather than humanitarian responses, and on low-income countries, drawing on other contexts where appropriate. The aim is to provide an overview of issues, a selection of key references and signposting to further resources, rather than an exhaustive guide. Two main rationales for supporting social protection recur across the literature. One is that social protection is a human right. A second rationale is that social protection is instrumental to the achievement of a broader range of development goals, including poverty reduction, education, health, social inclusion, empowerment and state-building, among others.