Urban Social Protection and Jobs Program

The dynamics of urban poverty makes it necessary for urban social protection and jobs programs to adopt new approaches to address the different set of urban problems and opportunities. In a mixed-method study funded by the World Bank, we complied and analysed the existing social protection and job programs that have an urban orientation. Our goal was to gain an in-depth understanding of their structural and functional governance so that we can identify the flaws and potentials of these programs in addressing the needs of the urban poor.

Researchers: Dr Md. Shanawez Hossain; Mehnaz Rabbani; Mohammad Sirajul Islam; Raihan Ahamed; Shamael Ahmed

Partners: The World Bank

Timeline: July-December 2019

Status: Completed

Contact: Mehnaz Rabbani;


In Bangladesh, nearly a third of the population lives in urban areas with substantial urban poverty rates. With more and more people migrating from rural to urban areas, the rates are likely to increase. Yet, the current social protection programs in Bangladesh cover around only one-tenth of urban households, reflecting the severe inadequacy of urban-focused social protection programs.


The objective of our study was to create a comprehensive list of existing urban social protection and jobs programs; and examine them to understand their features, functions, flaws, and how these programs can be enhanced.

This study is relevant to SDG 1 (No Poverty), particularly to ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Method                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Guided by exploratory methods, we used an inductive approach for this study. Following the geographic coverage, we compiled the social protection programs from the metropolitan areas of Dhaka and Chattogram. These programs have an explicit urban focus either by design or mandate and are being implemented by both government and non-government institutions. We categorised these programs following the World Bank’s Atlas of Social Protection Indicators of Resilience and Equity (ASPIRE) database format. Additionally, we also focused on jobs programs, specifically targeting job accessibility, quality, and creation. From the program stocklist, we conducted a deeper review of six selected programs. The primary data collected for stocktaking and a detailed review of the selected programs were utilised for institutional mapping and assessment. In addition, we conducted in-depth interviews with national-level experts, such as urban economists, labour force experts, etc.


Findings and Recommendations