Access to social protection is a human right. Governments have the ultimate responsibility to ensure equal access, though they do not need to produce all the services alone.
It is understood that eradication of poverty and reduction of inequalities is not possible with social sector actions alone. Social values must be embedded in all policies and the actions of each ministry and agency. Essential values include equality, non-discrimination, participation, inclusion and accountability of duty bearers. We may call this the 'Whole-of-Government' approach.
The partner countries of EU-SPS initiative have identified fragmentation of the social protection system as one of the core challenges that lead to poor coverage, inadequacy of services and unsustainability. In response, some partner countries have applied the whole-of-government approach. Each country grounds and adapts its actions in their own history and governance systems.
Individual capacity development
Individual capacity in Zambia, Tanzania and Kyrgyzstan was approached through ‘pre-service’ MA, BA and professional proficiency curricula on social protection. Special focus in Kyrgyzstan was on disability inclusion. In Ethiopia the focus was on the training of local level social workers in vocational training institutions.
Mutale Wakanuma from the institute for Social Policy points out that domestic education is essential to capacity: “For you to have enough human resource to be able to run competently you need to train quite a number of staff a number of individuals to deliver social protection. So if you are sending out big numbers it becomes much more expensive to do that and very unsustainable in the long run.”
- Creating social protection curricula in Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, for Africa regionally and online
- Disability Inclusion and Baby Box: EU-SPS support to social protection related capacity development in Kyrgyzstan 2017-2018
Social workforce strengthening
The EU-SPS/Finland supported the Government of Ethiopia in developing its social service workforce. Social workers have a key role in informing people about the public services and benefits they have a right to. Social workers also counsel and encourage clients to claim their rights. Professional local level social workers – working in teams with the health and agriculture/food security officers – are needed to create a reliable social protection system at the most local level.
Informal worker inclusion
99% of Cambodian construction sector workers are informally employed and 70% are only seasonally employed and often return to their rural homes. Currently only formal sector workers whose employees are registered with National Social Security Fund (NSSF) are entitled to various social protections.
Furthermore, Cambodia will experience some of the fastest population ageing in the world in the coming decades. Currently it only secures a pension for public sector workers, while the informal private sector is left without pension insurance.