Social Protection Online Learning Series


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SDC Social Protection Online Learning Series

The SDC's training encompasses ten ​learning events spread over a period of one year. The learning modules build one upon another and will look at social protection from various angles. The first two modules generate a common understanding of the concept, instruments and impacts of social protection and constitute the basis for the seven technically more specialised modules which follow afterwards. 

Date and Time

Basic Module 1: What is Social Protection in the SDC?

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This introductory module will lay the foundation for the overall structure of the course. We will discuss the major concepts of social protection in the development context, the target groups as well as how it is linked to overall development goals and principles (human rights, social contract, social cohesion, SDGs/LNOB). What are typical functions and what are typical risks that are being covered? What is shock-responsive social protection? How can we differentiate between humanitarian aid and social protection, and where are the linking points? How can social protection contribute to social inclusion? What are typical target groups? What are the basic functions of social protection and typical impacts (productive, protective, preventative and promotive)? How does social protection fit into SDC's overall development framework and related concepts such as LNOB, social inclusion, protection and decent work?

We​​dnesday, 23.06.2021
09:30-11:30 CET

Basic Module 2: Overview of Social Protection Instruments and Impacts

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Social protection is delivered through a range of instruments, including cash transfers, conditional cash transfers, insurance or cash and food for work, social services or so-called cash plus, subsidies, fee waivers, school feeding or vouchers. In this module, we will discuss the various instruments in more detail and in which vulnerability, risk and SDC contexts they are usually applied. What are challenges related to universal and targeted approaches? Who are typical stakeholders involved in the delivery of social protection (public, private for and non-profit as well as informal actors and international stakeholders). The module will also provide an overview of the global debate on social protection, including major stakeholders.

​​​Wednesday, 18.08.2021
09:30-11:30 CET

Technical Module 3: Agriculture, Food Security and Social Protection

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In the context of agriculture social protection relates mainly to two dimensions: 1) protection against life-cycle risks (health, old-age, maternity or chronic poverty) and 2) protection of livelihoods due to loss of income, typcially through climate-risks. Beyond the protective aspect, social protection has also an important promotive dimension. As a demand-based instrument, social protection has a potential role in enhancing agricultural production, employment and increasing local demand. Through complementary resource management measures, e.g. measures against soil erosion, social protection contributes to sustainable livelihoods in the rural conte​​xt. Also, social protection has an important role with regards to food and nutrition security. While social protection can support households in accessing not only a higher quantity of food, but also more nutritious diets, health care, and education, so-called nutrition-sensitive social protection measures can further improve the impact on food and nutrition security. 

This module aims at providing an overview of typical social protection interventions in the sector aiming at protecting life-cycle risks while at the same time promoting sustainable livelihoods. What are different target groups in the rural context (incl. the chronically, landless poor, transitory poor with productive inputs or the better-off) and how may tailor-made solutions look like for those groups? How can social protection support the twin-track approach to food and nutrition security by providing short-term support through the provision of in-kind or in-cash support and at the same time, enable farmers to increase and strengthen their livelihoods, also by linking it to other sectors, inlcuding employment along the value chain?

Wednesday, 22.09.2021
09:30-11:30 CET

Technical Module 4: Social Protection in the Context of Education, Employment and Private Sector Development​

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Social protection plays an important role in protecting people from exclusion of their basic rights, such as education or from other life-cycle risks caused by a loss of income or other livelihoods. Social protection has also an important promotive function strength​ening and sustaining equality, productivity and livelihoods with a positive impact on social and economic development and growth. This is particularly strong when linked to complementary measures such basic education, vocational training or social services. In this module, we will discuss some of these instruments in more detail, in particular in the context of the role of social protection in improving access to education, informal employment and decent work.

Wedne​sday, 17.11.2021

09:30-11:30 CET

Technical Module 5: Health and Social Protection

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Poverty and poor health are inextricably linked. Poverty increases the chances of poor health. Poor health, in turn, traps communities in poverty. In this module we will discuss the role of social protection in the context of health with regards to three dimensions: 1) Social health protection is a means to improve access to health, e.g. through contributory health insurance or other financing mechanisms, such as health funds, vouchers or exemption policies for the poor and most vulnerable groups. 2) Social protection is a social determinant of health. Due to their generally lower educational levels, as well as working and living conditions, poor people are exposed to higher health risks. They tend to live in overcrowded neighbourhoods and usually cannot afford a healthy diet. Poverty is an important factor of social exclusion with negative impacts on mental health and well-being. Supporting poor people in improving their living conditions, social protection has also a positive impact on health outcomes.3) Linking health and social protection measures has a positive impact on health and poverty outcomes: What do we know about the coordination and mutual influence and impacts of social health protection measures linked to social cash transfers (e.g., LEAP-Ghana, CT-OVC Kenya)?
SDC has a wealth of experience in social health protection. Where could the SDC internally establish or strengthen cross-sectorial links with other thematic areas or clusters?

Wednesday, 26.01.2022

09:30-11:30 CET

Technical Module 6: Triple Nexus: Humanitarian, Development, Peace and Social Protection

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The discussion on humanitarian aid, social protection and peace and development encompasses various dimensions: 1) How can social protection systems become more shock-sensitive as to enable them to quickly adapt to shocks, especially in a recurrent crisis context? 2) How can humanitarian aid interventions, especially in protracted crisis contexts be designed in such a way as to provide a sustainable basis for building up or linking into existing social protection schemes? 3) How can social protection help to support the transition between humanitarian aid and long-term development perspectives? 4) How can social protection contribute to social cohesion, especially in fragile contexts? Herein, the role of refugees and migrants deserves specific consideration.

This module aims at elaborating the nexus from a social protection perspective aiming at complementing the rich know-how and experience of the SDC humanitarian arm and in particular the cash group. Discussing different models and practical examples, it aims at identifying potential links and entry points, as well as critically discussing major challenges and limits in realising such an approach.

Wednesday, 23.03.2022

15:00-17:00 CET

Technical Module 7: Governance / Systems Strengthening and Social Protection

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The governance dimension of social protection is closely related to 'systems building and strengthening in social protection'. This includes amongst others the development of legal frameworks and national strategies for social protection, public finance management and fiscal space, coordination across different ministries, programmes and instruments (e.g. in the context of graduation strategies), management information systems and capacity development in social protection. It also relates to aspects of decentralised management and service provision of social protection goods and services.
In this module we will discuss potential entry-points, good practices and lessons learnt for SDC in strengthening governance of integrated social protection systems. We will also discuss how the SDC may further strengthen the coordination and integration of social protection systems towards coherent and comprehensive social protection systems, with a particular focus on LNOB. The module will also discuss the politics of social protection or 'political will' as an important context factor that shapes reforms in social protection.

Wednesday, 18.05.2022

09:30-11:30 CE​T
Technical Module 8: Gender and Social Protection

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​Social protection has a key role in increasing equal access to services for girls and women, promoting equitable employment, empowerment and equal rights and opportunities from early childhood onwards. Social protection systems which address gendered risks over the lifecycle and provide support in situations of poverty, vulnerability or crisis, play a vital role in protecting women and men from poverty and insecurity, helping them to cope with risks, and recover from shocks and ultimately change to transform women's outcomes. Gendered risks over the life-cycle concern in particular women and girls, including barriers to quality education, early pregnancy and increased school-drop out. Women are more likely than men to work in precarious, informal jobs and bear a greater burden of unpaid care. Providing equitable access to gender-responsive social protection contributes to women's and girls' empowerment and opportunities, with wider positive effects for men and boys, their families and communities.
How may gender-responsive social protection measures look like? What are entry points for SDC to make their social protection initiatives more gender-sensitive? How can gender-related initiatives be more aligned with LNOB?

​Wednesday, 22.06.2022 
09:30-11:30 CET

Technical Module 9: Social Protection Indicators to Leave No One Behind

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I​​mproved social protection indicator design can lead to substantial improvements in monitoring, targeting and service delivery for the poor and the most marginalized people.

It is widely recognized that social protection has broadly reported impacts especially on LNOB. SDC is supporting a wide range of activities in the context of social protection, but the results of social protection are rarely monitored or reported. Outputs and outcomes largely go unnoticed, because these remain hidden under various themes and sectors. Where SDC is reporting on social protection indicators these are mostly input and output but rarely process indicators, a characteristic that SDC shares with many other donors and development partners. Where SDC works with other donors, it tends to report on progress in social protection using other donors' tools and indicators, which could be enhanced and done in a more systematic way.

SDC has refocused its results monitoring, but further progress is possible concerning social protection indicators. In this module we will look at good practice indicators within the SDC and other donors. What are characteristics of good social protection indicators? How can SDC staff select and further develop social protection indicators? Which practical steps guide good social protection indicator selection and ensure LNOB-sensitivity?

Wednesday, 24.08.2​022
09:30-11:30 CET​

Technical Module 10: Financing Social Protection

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S​ocial protection systems are typically financed through a combination of tax-financed non-contributory schemes and social insurance schemes that are usually funded by workers and employers. For low-income countries, raising the resources to be able to finance at least a minimum social protection floor provides however, a huge challenge. Domestic fiscal and administrative capacities to increase the fiscal space for social protection are often limited, as is the social insurance coverage - usually confined to the formal public sector economy. This also provides a challenge for development partners aiming at investing in social protection policies, in particular with regards to its sustainability in the long-run. In this module, several strategies and options for increasing the fiscal space for social protection both at national and international level are discussed, including innovative ways of increasing domestic tax revenues, elimination of illicit financial flows, debt management as well management of the ODA aid and transfers in order to sustainably improve the domestic resource base for financing social protection. This also includes approaches to gender-based budgeting.  

​​Wednesday, 28.09.2022
09:30-11:30 CET

Top Photo: Licensed by SDC from iStock by peeterv​

Training Overview

Download t​h​e overview of the trainin​g (PD​F)​


​Acce​ss the ​t​h​emati​c input of the pa​st mod​​​​u​​les​​ (PD​F)​​​​​​​ ​(access based on request via the above link or send an email to​​​