Digital innovations in delivering social protection in rural areas: Lessons for public provisioning during the post-pandemic recovery and beyond


Over the past 20 years, considerable progress has been made in reducing poverty worldwide, with the expansion of social protection coverage and uptake playing a key role. To strengthen and expand the public provision of social protection, countries have been investing in the development of robust delivery systems, including digital tools, especially identification and payment systems and social registries. However, despite the vast potential of digitalisation for improving the performance of social protection uptake and delivery, the digital divide between rural and urban areas worldwide can undermine the contributions of digital technologies. 

In this context, a research report was prepared on the use of digital innovations for social protection uptake and delivery in rural areas worldwide. This report analyses the use of digital tools along the social protection delivery chain in Argentina, Cambodia, Jordan, Morocco, Philippines, Togo, Türkiye and Uganda to produce policy recommendations to ensure that digital technologies are adequately used to support rural social protection programmes. 

To present the research findings from this report and to discuss them further with other experts in the field of digital social protection, the FAO and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Development (IPCid) organised a webinar on the platform. Next to the presence of the research team involved in the preparation of this report, the aim was to also count with the perspectives from the case study countries, enabling a more detailed account from the point of view of those involved in the implementation of the digital tools analysed. 

This webinar provided an overview of the case studies of the digitalisation of social protection with a focus on rural populations and aims to disseminate the lessons learned from their experiences, as well as involve other stakeholders to discuss digital rural social protection in the region. Its main objective was to provide reflections on the following questions: 

  1. How can digitalisation support the uptake and delivery of social protection in rural areas for both programme implementors and participants?
  2. What are the main challenges of using digital tools for social protection programmes that aim to support rural populations? 
  3. How can low- and middle-income countries overcome these challenges (with or without digital tools) to guarantee adequate social protection performance in rural areas?



Alejandro Grinspun, Senior Policy Officer (FAO ESP) 

Beatriz Burattini, Researcher (IPCid)

Umut Kaya, Acting Head of Department (Ministry of Family and Social Services/ General Directorate of Social Assistances/ Department of Monitoring, Evaluation and Performance, Republic of Türkiye)

Anne Geeleene B. Sy (DSWD/4Ps)

Dominique Leska-See, Advisor for Digital Social Protection (GIZ)


Moderator: Valentina Barca, Social Protection Expert



Burattini, B., G. Perin, K. Alvarenga, and V. L. Valiyaparambil. 2022. “Digital innovations in delivering social protection in rural areas: Lessons for public provisioning during the post-pandemic recovery and beyond”. Research Report, No. 85. Rome and Brasília: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.