Professional development course

Social Protection: Policies, Programmes and Evidence

Course details

From 22 June 2020 until 25 June 2020
Institute of Development Studies

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Further your knowledge of approaches to social protection and gain the skills to improve policies and programmes for positive social change.

Get up to speed with current knowledge, evidence and practice of social protection. You will broaden your knowledge base of approaches to social protection; develop an understanding of challenges in design and implementation in programming; and build your skills to critically assess the current evidence base. The course will enable you to confidently engage in critical debate about social protection to improve policies and programmes for positive social change.

The course draws of a rich history of social protection work at IDS and is led by Stephen Devereux and Rachel Sabates-Wheeler (Co-Directors of the Centre for Social Protection), who have extensive experience in providing social protection training against the backdrop of their research, evaluation and policy advice work in social protection.

Course aims

This course aims to equip participants with knowledge about current thinking and practice on social protection, with a focus on social assistance – social cash transfers, conditional cash transfers, school feeding and public works programmes. Participants will also build their skills in aspects of social protection analysis, design and implementation, such as targeting mechanisms, payment systems, financing options, and assessing the impacts of social protection programmes.

Who should attend?

The course is suited to a wide audience of policymakers, practitioners, researchers and project managers who are already or will be working in the area of social protection.

How you’ll learn

The course is interactive, inclusive and participatory. It comprises a series of interactive sessions, blending theoretical and conceptual learning with experiential learning and sharing. Teaching methods include plenary presentations, facilitated plenary discussions, hands-on exercises, case studies and group-work. The combination of techniques serves to build on the knowledge already available and to draw on participants’ own experiences of social protection.

The course is organised around three different themes, and tackles distinct topics within those themes.

Theme 1: Building a knowledge base

  • Models of social protection
  • Institutional and regional approaches to social protection
  • Social protection instruments

Theme 2: Designing and implementing social protection programmes

  • Targeting social assistance
  • Delivering social assistance
  • Social protection systems

Theme 3: Evidence of what works

  • Current evidence on social protection impacts
  • Monitoring and evaluating social protection programmes

These topics will be complemented with topical issues in social protection, such as social protection and food security, graduation programmes, shock-responsive social protection and gender–sensitive social protection. Case studies and examples will primarily be drawn from experiences in low-income countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Learning outcomes

  • Improved knowledge of conceptual approaches to social protection
  • Better understanding of social protection design and implementation issues
  • Enhanced ability to contribute to debates on improving social protection policy and practice.

Entry requirements

The course is taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, you should be proficient in English and able to take an active part in discussions. Your English needs to be of an intermediate standard or higher. Ideally you will have an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or above, or a Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) score of B2 or above.

Prior knowledge of social protection is desired. You are not required to take an IELTS test, this is a guide only.


The course fee is £1,550.

Fees include course materials, lunches and refreshments, one evening group dinner. It does not include accommodation, insurance or travel costs.

Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full on receipt of invoice.

How to apply

Before applying please read our short course  Terms and Conditions (pdf) and Code_of_Conduct (pdf).

The application procedure is a three-stage process:

Stage 1: Apply by completing the online application form. Deadline for applications is 11 May 2020. The course code is RF/19020.

Stage 2: You will be notified within one month as to whether your application has been approved or not. Successful applicants will receive the Stage 2 application form and an invoice for the course fee. Places on the course are not guaranteed until fees have been received.

Stage 3: Once fees have been received, you will be sent confirmation of your place on the course and a letter to support your visa application (if required).

You are responsible for organising your own travel and visas (where needed). Please note that UK visa applications can take months to process..

Past participants said:

“I feel that now I will be able to more actively engage in project design, implementation and review and how to best include social protection in development dialogue.”

“I feel better able to offer internal critique or advice on policy direction and to identify where social protection can enhance the achievements of sectoral programmes.”

“Very to the point presentations covering a large range of topics; very good lecturers, participants with a wide range of experience; good mix of lectures and exercises.”

“The interactive facilitation style allowed us to probe deeper into issues.”

“Good learning from others, hearing about other countries’ stages and experiences in SP.”

“The course had a good mixture of theory and applications and brought good case studies for practical applications.”

“[The course helps me to] provide both more direct technical inputs to programmes and engage in wider technical discussions.”


Teaching staff

Image of Stephen Devereux
Stephen Devereux

Research Fellow

Image of Rachel Sabates-Wheeler
Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Research Fellow


About this professional development course

Programmes and centres
Centre for Social Protection
Research themes
Inequalities and Poverty

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