Scaling up social protection

Strengthening social policies, ensuring no one is left behind


The challenge

Safety nets for children need cohesion and integration

Policies and programmes aimed at reducing the vulnerability of children and women are a crucial cornerstone of the social protection system of a country.

In Bangladesh, the social protection system is still highly fragmented, with over 130 programmes, which are often not linked, and with overlapping objectives, low budgets and inadequate coverage.

For any country, investing in children and social protection is crucial from all perspectives. Safety nets for children uphold human rights and the economy.

The Bangladesh government has approved a National Social Security Strategy, which seeks to consolidate these programmes into simplified lifecycle-based schemes.

More investment and planning is required to increase coverage of quality inclusive services. More funds should be allocated to programmes covering urban children

Additional measures are required to address child marriage, child labour. More focus should be given to programmes for reducing undernutrition, strengthening capacity of caregivers and establishing care provisions for orphans outside of institutions in compliance with the Children Act 2013.    

The establishment of child-focused budgeting by the government has been commended in the 2015 Concluding Observations of the CRC.

However, the committee also recommended that Bangladesh substantially increase budget allocations to all social sectors, especially for children who are most disadvantaged.

The committee also recommended a better monitoring and evaluation systems as quality of expenditures in the social sectors continues to represent a key issue.

Child-sensitive budgets must involve a development process that is participatory and transparent. Bangladesh also need to work towards achieving enhanced fiscal space to ensure better investments for children.


community building cyan

'Scaling up social protection' is a priority under Social Inclusion and Awareness of Child Rights, one of four outcomes by UNICEF Bangladesh     



The solution

UNICEF promotes a culture of using evidence, knowledge and evaluation

Children of tea-garden workers, a marginalised community deprived of most basic social services, attend a UNICEF-supported pre-school in Mirtinga Tea Estate in Maulavi Bazar, Sylhet.

Research and evaluations help to continuously improve performance and results of government and development arms, and recognising best practices is a key element of scaling up effective interventions.      

A core element of UNICEF is to foster discussion on creating and improving policies that are relevant for children. The advocacy is supported by developing factsheets, dialogues, consultations, thematic studies and capacity assessments.

The number of children covered under social protection, including those with disabilities, are monitored. The child-responsiveness of the system is also measured.

The prioritised actions for child-responsive social protection include supporting the implementation of the child component of the National Social Security Strategy and to support the establishment and work of a child-focused budgeting unit in the Ministry of Finance.

UNICEF works to push the social protection agenda and target the improvement of nutrition of children, education outcomes and reinforce positive social norms, in pursuing an agenda of universal coverage, as per a principle of the SDGs. 

To strengthen social protection, UNICEF works to monitor the overall situation of children, adolescents and women.

In collaboration with the government, it supports the real-time monitoring of the quality and coverage of basic social services.

Bangladesh has been a pioneer in collecting information on children, having been the pilot country for the first-ever Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS).

In 2019, UNICEF will support the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics do develop an updated MICS survey and monitor progress in 29 SDG indicators for children and women.