From November 20 – December 1, 2017, core SPRI associates organized and facilitated a two-week “Training of the Trainers” course on social policy and social protection, together with Thammasat University, Bangkok and with UNICEF Bhutan. The two-week seminar program was organised in Bangkok with the support of the faculty of Social Policy and Social Administration – Social Policy and Development at Thammasat University, of the Faculty of Social Policy Certificate Programme at the Royal University of Bhutan, and of UNICEF Bhutan and UNICEF ROSA.

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From left (top row): Dr. Prapaporn Tivayanond Mongkhonvanit (SPD/Thammasat University), Mr. Sonam Dendup (Sherubtse College),   Mr. Jamba Tobden (Sherubtse College), Mr. Leki Sangay (Sherubtse College), Mr. Peljor Galay (Sherubtse College), Mr. Ugyen Lhendup (Sherubtse College), Ms. Julia Karpati (SPRI/Tilburg University). From left (bottom row): Dr. Victor P. Karunan (SPRI/Thammasat University), Prof. Dr. Kovit Phong-ngam (Thammasat University), Prof. Dr. Chris de Neubourg (SPRI). Not pictured: Nesha Ramful (SPRI/Tilburg University). 

Participating members were lecturers and administrators from Sherubtse College of the Royal University of Bhutan. These lecturers and administrators organize a basic course in social policy and social protection for civil servants and Members of Parliament every year. They invited SPRI to facilitate lectures, discuss their teaching program and to discuss with them the newest insights and ideas in social protection.

The schedule of the seminar program spanned two weeks, and covered the following areas:

  • Main elements of social policy – equity and social inclusion, health, education, social protection, social services, and their interrelations
  • Poverty concepts  and measurement – monetary and multidimensional poverty, well-being, and happiness; measurement using various units of analysis
  • Policy processes including case studies from Thailand and other countries
  • Social protection concepts and instruments
  • Mapping the social protection system in Bhutan – identifying risks and vulnerabilities, social policy tools which address and correct these, along with gaps in delivery, services and programmes
  • Public finance for social policy
  • Principles of contributory social protection interventions
  • Social budgeting including simulation exercises
  • Civil Society Organisation and social policy
  • Policy administration and implementation
  • Evaluations including practical exercises for further delivery of teaching to course participants in Bhutan

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In addition to seminar lectures and in-depth discussions, participants were also presented specific cases of the policy process in Thailand, as well as social protection policies and programs in Thailand, including field visits with senior officials of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Royal Government of Thailand, and with representatives and beneficiaries of Thailand’s Child Support Grant (CSG) Programme (Child Support Grant Operational Centre/DCY-MSDHS).

The ambassador of the Kingdom of Bhutan, H.E. Mr. Tshewang C. Dorji, joined us at the diploma ceremony at the end of two weeks course, delivering his perspective on the future of social policy and social protection in Bhutan, and to present the certificates of completion to the course participants. Pictured above and below are images from the certificate ceremony.

SPRI was honoured to have been a part of this multilateral effort, and is looking forward to continue our collaboration with the colleagues of Bhutan in partnership with Thammasat University in Bangkok.  Beyond the scope of the program itself, members of SPRI were engaged in mutual learning. Course participants from the Royal University of Bhutan discussed at great length the salient social policy issues in Bhutan, and the tools that are currently at their disposal for building effective social protection systems in the context of Bhutan’s specific vulnerabilities. Members of SPRI came away from the course with lessons from Bhutan on, among others, effective, responsible and sustainable multi-level governance as a vital tool for effective design and delivery of social services. We endeavour to continue our learning from our colleagues.

In the following days we will update our website with further lessons from and reflections on the two weeks spent in and outside of the classroom with our Bhutanese and Thai colleagues.

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