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Social Protection for Employment – Community (SPEC) was born out of the South-South Knowledge Exchange Forum: Linking Social Protection to Employment Opportunities event, which took place from 24-25 May 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Indonesia’s National Team for Accelerating Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) jointly hosted the event with support from the German Development Cooperation GIZ program ‘Global Alliance for Social Protection’. 

Policy makers are increasingly looking at the contribution of social protection programs to promote livelihoods and assist poor and vulnerable people to access jobs in the formal and informal sector. This has led to the implementation of a range of programs including cash-for-work programs, food-for-work programs, employment guarantee schemes, asset transfers, support for skills training, livelihood programs and many others. These programs create short or long-term employment opportunities and also have multiplier effects on local economic development by increasing demand for labour and for goods and services. Many new and innovative approaches are being trialed across the globe in this space. Many large cash transfer programs have incorporated elements that support accessing jobs such as in the Philippines and in Latin America. But, very little has been written on what approaches work well, what works less well and what should be avoided.

The South-South event in Jakarta explored the key aspects that contribute to employment. Building on the Jakarta event, the Social Protection for Employment – Community (SPEC) will contribute to filling in the knowledge gap and facilitate South-South learning using innovative online instruments.