Social protection team visit South Africa and Nepal

Aug 31, 2013

Social Protection Team in South Africa. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh.

The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) committed, during the 2011 Social Protection Conference, to develop a National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS). The development of the strategy has since then become a major area of donor and GoB focus. Learning from best practice abroad is a vital part of these efforts. 

With financial support from AusAID, UNDP arranged two experience sharing visits to South Africa and Nepal between 19 to 31 August to expose GoB officials to social protection policies and delivery in these countries. Both were selected to offer complementary insights. South Africa has completed its transition to Middle Income Country Status and has a global reputation for innovation. Nepal, although a poorer country, has a similar cultural and institutional context Bangladesh, and offers a case where universalism has been adopted in spite of scarce resources.  

The visits were part of a continuous capacity building process, and planned as guided study tours led by the internationally reputed social protection expert group, the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI). The visits also included teach-in events to reflect on the policy implications for Bangladesh.  The visits were undertaken by delegations of 15 and 17 GoB officials respectively, comprising high and mid-level government officials from key line ministries. 

On returning to Bangladesh, both delegations took part in a convergence workshop to share their learning experiences and ideas. It is envisaged these will aid work on the NSPS and further improvements to policymaking and the delivery of social safety nets in Bangladesh. UNDP will, at a later date, facilitate a capacity strengthening workshop on social protection to share insights from these research and study visits with a wider government audience.