The Social Protection Wheel

Please click on a section of the wheel below to learn more about the types and instruments of social protection.

Types of Social Protection

Social Protection is generally understood encompass a number of different instruments which, in the short term alleviate the impact of poverty and livelihood shocks and, in the longer term, reduce inter-generational poverty, develop human capital, reduce inequality, promote robust and inclusive growth and, build more stable societies.

Please click on on the different types and instruments of social protection to learn more.

Social Assistance

A range of non-contributory social transfer which address the needs of citizens who do not have access to and cannot afford Social Insurance. Increasingly provided in the form of regular and predictable cash transfers but can take other forms. Financed by the state from taxes and other revenue sources.

Labour Based

Social transfers to poor and vulnerable individuals who are of working age and are able to work.

Employment Guarantees




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Similar to community works programmes, but guarantee a minimum amount of work each year.

Community Works

Public or community based works programmes giving paid work to the un or under-employed. Based on the provision of their labour in exchange for the transfer. Address widely held concerns about dependency and issues related to the free provision of social assistance. Normally involving a strong element of self targeting through the setting of the wage rate.

Asset Transfers

Productive assets such as crop packs, farm tools and livestock to families with access to labour and land. Often provided in combination with cash transfers and asset care support as in the Graduation Approach. Aim at building more resilient livelihoods. Recipients usually selected through poverty or community based processes (e.g. The Resilient Livelihoods for the Poor (RLP) pilot program in Lao PDR).

Non-Labour Based

Social transfers to poor and vulnerable individuals / households who are either not of working age or are unable to work. Often aimed a specific life-course categories, but also involving poverty and community based selection processes.

Old Age Grant

Cash transfers to the elderly. Often provided 'universally' to those over a certain age but sometimes means tested and exclude those with access to social insurance (e.g. Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar).

Disability Grant

Cash transfer to people living with disabilities and those caring for them. Usually self-targeted through referral systems and aimed at people with disabilities that prevent them from working.

Human Capital Development

Support provided to poor and vulnerable families to enable access to health and education services for cognitive and physical development. Typically selected through poverty / community based targeting.

Child Support Grant

Support in the form of cash and supplementary feed for pregnant and lactating mother, new borns infants. Aimed primarily at reducing child and mother mortality, and improving health and nutritional status. Often poverty or community based selection and conditional on clinic attendance.

Health Care Waivers

Enables poor and low income families who cannot afford health insurance to access state or private funded health care services. Targeted usually through poverty or community based systems (e.g. Laos Health Equity Fund).

School Incentives

Education support that addresses non-fee barriers to education access. Provides cash transfers for uniforms, transport, fees and to compensate families who rely on family labour and cannot send their children to school. Often conditional on school attendance.

Social Welfare

Broad range of services to wellbeing and welfare of vulnerable, marginalised and poor citizens.

Social Legislation

A range of legislation based on principles of rights of accesses to basic services, including social protection as defined in national legislation, and endorsements of regional and international protocols and declarations.

Social Insurance

Work related contributory schemes that provide retirement pensions and other job related support. Typically limited to civil servants and formal sector workers who contribute regular premium to enable access.

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Social Protection and Sustainable Livelihoods is an Australian government funded project implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and managed by Maxwell Stamp PLC
Australian Aid
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare
Maxwell Stamp PLC
Hom 1, Unit 17, Ban Nakham, Sikhottabong District, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR Telephone: + 856 21 255334-6  |  Fax: +856 21 255337