This week’s webinar, hosted by on the 14 July, was organised by the Inter Agency Social Protection Assessments (ISPA) Coordination team. The  event was moderated by Luz Rodriguez (Social Protection Specialist, the World Bank). Mito Tsukamoto (Senior Employment Intensive Investment Expert, the International Labour Organization) presented the ISPA Public Works Programme Tool in its application to social protection systems.

The recording is available here and the presentation here. All webinars in this series can be found under the ISPA Tools tag. 

Mito introduced the discussion by describing the use of ISPA Tools. They are aimed at addressing challenges that governments face, regarding their social protection systems. Development partners can benefit from using ISPA Tools to analyse the current state of their social protection systems, to design or reform their national social protection system, to strengthen administration and delivery systems, or to evaluate impact, and monitor social protection systems in place.

Mito went on to discuss the five key elements included in the ISPA Tools and reiterated that each instance in which the tool is used needs to be contextualised so that it is country specific. She then discussed the importance and applicability of using the tool at the country level, the governmental level and with international partners. In this way, collaboration between all three tiers works to benefit the citizenry at the household level, in that people have better access to goods and services and social protection systems are improved as a whole.

Currently there are four ISPA Tools that have been finalised and are freely available. These include: the Core Diagnostic Instrument, the Social Protection Public Works Programme, the Identification Tool and the Social Protection Payments tool. However, the Tools are specifically designed and aimed at experts from government institutions, international development agencies and academic or research institutions.

Specifically, the Public Works Programme (PWP), under social protection, provides a source of income through generating employment through cash/in kind transfers and creating public goods by providing useful services. It refers specifically to community-based and publically financed programmes which support the poor in order to achieve ‘Income Security’.

Mito illustrated the multiple objectives and trade-offs between social protection, reducing unemployment and the infrastructure, as well as assets and services provided through sectoral investments. PWPs function to serve in a number of various ways in that they are able to be implemented as short-term emergency programmes, to better public employment programmes, to address market failures, and in some instances, they are able to address multiple objectives.

In acknowledging the benefits of PWPs, Mito explained that they are able to provide an immediate income, to generate meaningful employment, provide services for communities, while also taking into consideration the need to address environmental degradation. Overall, PWPs work to strengthen social protection systems. They are also specifically tailored to the country context in which they are intended to be implemented. Mito detailed the framework of the tool, explaining the intended outcomes and importance of each step before going on to discuss the application of the tool and its various stages of implementation.

Before concluding the session, Mito addressed some pertinent questions from participants, which looked specifically at describing the different types of services and asset delivery that is provided by PWPs, and how the tool can be enhanced and applied to any type of PWP, not necessarily only ones encompassed by social protection systems. 

Watch the video here!


This blog post is part of the ISPA Tool Series, which brings together the summaries of webinars organised by ISPA on the topic. Please join the ISPA Social Protection Payment Delivery Online Community if you are interested in following the most recent discussions on the topic. If you have any thoughts on this webinar summary, we would love to hear from you. Please add your comments below!

Social Protection Programmes: 
  • Social assistance
  • Labour market / employment programmes
Social Protection Building Blocks: 
  • Policy
    • Monitoring and evaluation systems
    • Governance and coordination
  • Programme implementation
  • Programme design
Social Protection Approaches: 
  • Global
  • Global
The views presented here are the author's and not's