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Social Protection Window

The Social Protection (SP) Window was opened in July, 2005 with the aim of supporting thematic and cross-cutting work on social protection and labor.  Projects supported under the SP Window are designed to strengthen the quality and effectiveness of social protection activities supported by the World Bank, as well as help to better integrate thinking on social protection and poverty within country assistance programs and client country’s own Poverty Reduction Strategies.  The SP Window also aims to support innovation and new thinking on SP policies and programs.

Traditionally, social protection has included policies that support social safety nets, CDD and social funds, employment and labor policies, and social insurance. More recently, the Bank has launched the Social Risk Management (SRM) strategy which focuses more specifically on the poorest and most vulnerable because they are more exposed to risk and they often lack effective risk-management strategies. This view of social protection emphasizes the dual role of risk management: protecting basic livelihoods while promoting risk-taking for financial gain (for example, taking up a more profitable activity to break out of chronic poverty).  SP also includes programs and policies that address the needs of at-risk or vulnerable groups e.g. children and youth, orphans and vulnerable children, and persons with disabilities.

TFESSD-supported activities cover a breadth of topics, with a regional focus on Africa. Activities on vulnerable and at-risk groups have been completed in four African countries. Several of these focused on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in southern Africa; they examined the long-term consequences of orphanhood and proposed ways to reduce discrimination e.g. towards HIV/AIDS orphans. TFESSD has also supported work on disabilities in Africa, including in the context of post-conflict environments (Cote d’Ivoire).  The goal of these activities is to enhance both the Bank’s and the developing countries’ efforts to mainstream disability within development projects.

More recently, work has been launched on labor markets in Africa, as well as East, South and Central Asia, with emphasis on informality and better working conditions for the poor. Children and youth is a continuing theme, in particular the transitions from school to work (e.g. in Africa). Funding also was agreed to explore informal support arrangements for the elderly in low income countries, with the aim of ensuring that the design and coverage of formal pension and social security systems complement and fill the gaps in existing informal arrangements. New analytic work is underway on risk, growth, and poverty reduction, with particular focus on high-risk, low income countries. In addition, TFESSD is helping the Bank strengthen its operational responses to risk and vulnerability, through its support of better information and monitoring systems, development and testing of pilot programs, and in the context of the latter, supporting better and more timely impact evaluation.

Knowledge and dissemination are an integral part of all activities. TFESSD financed activities typically include in-country workshops and consultations, participation in international events, and active dissemination (through websites, CDs, distribution of hard copy drafts) of final papers and reports to a wide range of stakeholders. Examples include the recently completed study on “Orphanhood and the Long-Run Impact on Children” in Tanzania, which collected valuable panel data that were made widely available to researchers and policy-makers in Tanzania as well as outside.  The OVC toolkit is available in French and English on the Bank’s external web as well as on a CD, and the Bank’s website on disability which presents new findings (e.g. of data collection efforts) and facilitates a global exchange of new ideas and good practices.


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