Non-contributory Social Protection in South Asia: An overview from a child, equity and gender perspective


This webinar constitutes the first of a total six webinars on social protection in South Asia. The first three webinars introduce the main findings of five new comparative studies, developed by the IPC-IG in partnership with UNICEF´s Regional Office for South Asia, that together comprehensively analyse the social protection landscape of the region. Webinars 4 – 6 will then delve deeper into country-specific policy-takeaways. Each webinar will provide novel insights into the characteristics of social protection in the region and present policymakers in South Asia and beyond with crucial takeaways for their work in designing effective, efficient, and well-informed policies. 

This webinar kicked off our series on social protection in South Asia. With an overview of non-contributory social protection in the region. Specifically, this webinar has been split in two parts:

In the first part, the findings of the new study “Overview of Non-contributory Social Protection Programmes in South Asia from a Child and Equity Perspective” were explored (the related One Pagers are available and they summarise the general overview and the specific assessment of child-sensitive design features and social protection coverage). The webinar started with an overview of a sample of 51 non-contributory social protection programmes, comparing them regarding their scale, benefits, targeting mechanisms, and target groups. The webinar then delved deeper into child-sensitive design features of these programmes and presented estimates on the programmes´ coverage among children.

The second part of the webinar was explicitly dedicated to an analysis of gender issues in social protection in South Asia presented in the study “Gender and social protection in South Asia: an assessment of the design of non-contributory programmes“. We departed by outlining the main gender-based vulnerabilities in the South Asian context. Then we discussed the design of some of the key social protection programmes we encountered in the first part of the webinar with respect to gender-sensitive features and looked at existing evidence on the programmes’ impacts on gender-relevant outcomes.

Taken together, this workshop sheds light on common trends, important gaps, and interesting opportunities for improvements in non-contributory social protection programmes with a special emphasis on child- and gender-related issues. During the webinar we explored some of the following questions:

  • What are some of the key features of non-contributory social protection in South Asia regarding scale, benefits, targeting, and the groups they reach?
  • How do these programmes address the main vulnerabilities of children and how many children do they reach?
  • To what extent do these programmes consider gendered needs and vulnerabilities in their design?
  • How can policymakers improve designing effective, efficient, and well-informed policies based on common trends and gaps in the regional social protection landscape?


Pedro Arruda, Researcher, IPC-IG

Charlotte Bilo, Researcher, IPC-IG

Yannick Markhof, Researcher, IPC-IG


Abdul Alim, Regional Social Policy Advisor, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia – ROSA


This was the first webinar of the Series ''Social Protection in South Asia – the landscape before the Covid-19, and a snapshot into responses to the crisis and the paths ahead'', jointly organised by the IPC-IG, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), and Country Offices.