Strengthening social protection for informal workers: supporting poverty reduction and social inclusion across stable and fragile contexts

May 2011 to May 2014

In recent years, attention to the impacts of social protection has moved beyond an interest in immediate income and consumption support, to the role of social protection in promoting transformative change. This perspective suggests social protection can not only help people meet their basic needs but also contribute to their long-term wellbeing and broader societal goals of equity, inclusion, social justice and empowerment. While there is a substantial body of evidence on the short-term impacts of social protection, however, we know relatively little about its contribution to addressing these goals and tackling the societal structures and processes that generate poverty and social exclusion.

In this context, this research project seeks to assess the effectiveness and relevance of social protection and labour programmes in tackling social exclusion and promoting social inclusion in South Asia. The research has been developed and is being conducted in collaboration with research partners in four countries: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), BRAC Development Institute (BDI), Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) and Nepal Participatory Action Network (NEPAN). 


The research examines the potential for social protection and labour initiatives to enhance economic opportunities for socially excluded individuals and improve their access to and utilisation of essential social services, including health and education. It also explores the extent to which social protection can support individual empowerment, social relations and state-society relations in local communities. The research identifies the drivers of social exclusion, i.e. social, economic and institutional factors affecting well-being, and assesses how the interventions addressed these factors. It considers various dimensions of social exclusion, such as caste, ethnicity, religion, gender and disability.

The project seeks to:

  • generate a solid evidence base on the extent to which social protection and labour programmes contribute to well-being and promote social inclusion - specifically informal workers but also other vulnerable groups; and
  • effectively use this evidence to influence national social protection policy and programming in the case study countries.

All outputs are the sole responsibility of ODI and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union or the Australian Government.

Outputs

How do social protection and labour programmes contribute to social inclusion? Evidence from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal

Research reports and studies | May 2014 | Babken Babajanian, Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Rebecca Holmes
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. The growing body of evidence on rising inequality and...
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Can social protection and labour programmes contribute to social inclusion? Evidence from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal

Briefing papers | May 2014 | Babken Babajanian, Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Rebecca Holmes
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 can social protection tackle the drivers that perpetuate...
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How do safety nets contribute to social inclusion in Bangladesh? Evidence from the Chars Livelihoods Project and the Vulnerable Group Development programme

Research reports and studies | May 2014 | Omar Faruque Siddiki, Rebecca Holmes, Ferdous Jahan, Fahim Subhan Chowdhury and Jessica Hagen-Zanker
This study uses a social exclusion lens to analyse the effects of the Chars Livelihoods Programme in the chars and the Vulnerable Group Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. It tests assumptions about the role social protection can play in...
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How does social protection contribute to social inclusion in India? Evidence from the National Health Insurance Programme (RSBY) in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh

Research reports and studies | May 2014 | Nidhi S. Sabharwal, Vinod Kumar Mishra, Ajaya Kumar Naik, Rebecca Holmes and Jessica Hagen-Zanker
This study uses a social exclusion lens to analyse the effects of RSBY, a health insurance scheme for poor households in India. It tests assumptions about the role social protection can play in contributing to social inclusion and poverty reduction. The study used...
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The contribution of the Chars Livelihoods Programme and the Vulnerable Group Development programme to social inclusion in Bangladesh: Country briefing

Briefing papers | May 2014 | Omar Faruque Siddiki, Rebecca Holmes, Ferdous Jahan, Fahim Subhan Chowdhury and Jessica Hagen-Zanker
Increased attention has recently been given to the role that social protection programmes can play beyond the economic sphere, highlighting the importance of understanding and tackling the multidimensional nature of poverty. This research used a social exclusion lens...
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How does social protection contribute to social inclusion in Nepal? Evidence from the Child Grant in the Karnali Region

Research reports and studies | May 2014 | Tej Prasad Adhikari, Fatik Bahadur Thapa, Sonam Tamrakar, Prakash Buda Magar, Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Babken Babajanian
This study uses a social exclusion lens to analyse the effects of Nepal’s Child Grant in Karnali region and tests assumptions about the role social protection can play in contributing to social inclusion and poverty reduction. The study used mixed methods and employed...
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The contribution of India’s National Health Insurance Programme (RSBY) to social inclusion in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh: Country briefing

Briefing papers | May 2014 | Nidhi S. Sabharwal, Vinod Kumar Mishra, Ajaya Kumar Naik, Rebecca Holmes and Jessica Hagen-Zanker
Social health protection programmes, such as India’s health insurance scheme, RSBY, are increasingly seen as a key component of a social protection approach to reduce poverty and improve health status. Moreover, attention has recently been given to the indirect...
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How do labour programmes contribute to social inclusion in Afghanistan? Evidence from BRAC’s life skills education and livelihoods trainings for young women

Research reports and studies | May 2014 | Chona Echavez, Babken Babajanian, Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Shaheen Akter, Jennefer Lyn Bagaporo
This study adopts a social exclusion lens to analyse the effects of BRAC’s life skills education and livelihoods trainings for young women in Afghanistan and tests assumptions about the role labour programmes can play in contributing to social inclusion. It used mixed...
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