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Can social protection and labour programmes promote social inclusion?

Time (GMT +01) 10:00 16:30


Kevin Watkins, Executive Director, ODI

Andrew Norton, Director of Research, ODI


Babken Babajanian, Research Fellow, Social Protection Programme, ODI

Chona Echavez, Research Director, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)

Ferdous Jahan, BRAC University

Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Research Fellow, Social Protection Programme, ODI

Nidhi Sadana Sabharwal, Director, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS)

Rebecca Holmes, Research Fellow, Social Protection Programme, ODI

Tej P Adhikari, Nepal Participatory Action Network (NEPAN)


Esther Schuering, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University 

Francesca Bastagli, Research Fellow, Social Protection Programme, ODI

Gül Berna Özcan, Royal Holloway, University of London

Lucy Scott, Research Officer, Chronic Poverty Advisory Network, ODI

Professor Geoff Wood, University of Bath

Rachel Slater, Research Fellow and Head of Social Programme Programme, ODI

Uwe Gehlen, German Technical Cooperation (GIZ)


Discussions around the post-2015 development goals and the proposed ‘leave no-one behind’ principle have revived global interest in inequality and the role of social protection in promoting social inclusion. But is there too much emphasis on the potential of social protection alone to address broader goals of equity, social justice and empowerment? Can social protection tackle the wider structural drivers that perpetuate poverty and inequality?

This symposium provided a forum to discuss recent research that assesses how social protection and labour interventions promoted social inclusion. We focused on:

  • BRAC’s life skills education and livelihoods trainings for young women in Afghanistan,
  • the Chars Livelihoods Programme in the Chars and the Vulnerable Group Development Programme in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh
  • India’s National Health Insurance Programme (RSBY) in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh
  • the Child Grant in the Karnali region of Nepal

The research examined the effects of these social protection and labour interventions on various dimensions of well-being, including food security; access to health and education; the ability to take advantage of economic opportunities and generate income; participation in social networks and activities, and state-society relations. It identified the drivers of social exclusion - the social, economic and institutional factors affecting well-being - and assessed how the interventions addressed these factors.

The event brought together researchers from our four country partner organisations - Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), BRAC Development Institute (BDI), Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) and Nepal Participatory Action Network (NEPAN) - and international donors, researchers and practitioners to discuss the evidence from the field and its implications for policy and practice.

This event was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union, the Australian Government and German International Cooperation (GIZ).