Insights from SPRI Global’s Recent Training Workshop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

From May 13 to May 17, 2024, the Social Policy Research Institute (SPRI Global) in collaboration with UNICEF facilitated a vital capacity-building program in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This initiative aimed to enhance the analytical skills of staff from the National Agency for Social Protection (NASP) and the Institute for Development of Social Protection (ISP), providing them with the tools necessary for conducting rigorous, evidence-based social policy analysis as well as monitoring and evaluation. The workshop was conducted in person by SPRI Global facilitators Dr. Prof. Chris de Neubourg, Dr. Oxana Sinyavskaya, and Ms. Julia Karpati, with remote support provided by Mr. Patrick Llewellin and Ms. Stiene Praet. To learn more about this project, click here.

This workshop was part of broader efforts to support national actors in the implementation of Uzbekistan’s Strategy for Social Protection of the Population, adopted in 2022, which sets forth ambitious goals to enhance social protection systems through 2030. The establishment of the National Agency for Social Protection under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (the Agency) on June 1, 2023, marked a significant step towards restructuring the social protection landscape. The Agency’s creation underscores the Uzbekistan government’s commitment to developing and implementing unified state policies on social protection that radically improve social services and introduce new management systems based on international standards.

Comprehensive Training for Enhanced Policy-Making

The workshop aimed to equip NASP and ISP staff with sophisticated analytical tools necessary for rigorous, evidence-based social policy analysis. The program began with a session that set the stage for the week’s learning objectives, focusing on the refinement of child-sensitive and child-focused policy-making processes through enhanced analytical capabilities. The training emphasized not only the transfer of knowledge but also the improvement of monitoring and evaluation practices and the effective use of survey data to bolster the accountability and effectiveness of social policies.

Pictured: Ms. Antonia Luedeke, Chief – Child Protection, UNICEF (left); Ms. Tinatin Baum, Social Protection and Child Poverty Lead, UNICEF.

Pictured: Mr. Khurshid Zafari, Director of 

Pictured: Prof. Dr. Chris de Neubourg (SPRI Global)

Establishing the Framework

Participants received a warm welcome from leaders and specialists of UNICEF, NASP, ISP, and SPRI, which underscored the collaborative spirit of the workshop. The first sessions delved into integrating children’s rights into policy frameworks and provided a detailed examination of the lifecycle of policy development. A comprehensive introduction to the Theory of Change highlighted its critical role in designing impactful social policies.

Practical Application of Analytical Concepts

The subsequent sessions engaged participants in the practical application of the Theory of Change, involving them in group exercises that evolved into logical framework analyses. These frameworks were crucial for advancing discussions on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were introduced as essential tools for assessing the effectiveness of social protection interventions.

  

Deepening Understanding through Key Performance Indicators

A significant focus was placed on linking KPIs to broader social protection concepts, enabling participants to see individual indicators within the larger context of strategic objectives. The use of real data in hands-on exercises furthered the practical application of theoretical knowledge, allowing participants to estimate KPIs for actual social protection interventions, as well as conduct ex-post analyses.

Pictured: Dr. Oxana Sinyavskaya (SPRI Global, Higher School of Economics)

Forward-Looking Strategies with Policy Simulations

The training culminated with sessions on ex-ante policy simulations, which are crucial for helping policymakers understand the potential costs and outcomes of planned interventions. Participants utilized international simulation models to project policy changes using real data for Uzbekistan, offering a pragmatic approach to theoretical discussions held throughout the week.

Pictured: Dr. Chris de Neubourg, Ms. Julia Karpati (SPRI Global)

Impact and Future Directions

The training received highly positive feedback from participants, who found the sessions to be both practical and informative. The blend of theoretical knowledge with hands-on exercises was particularly appreciated, highlighting an ongoing demand for further professional development in this field.

The successful completion of this workshop has laid a solid foundation for future support, tailored to the evolving needs of NASP and ISP staff. This training initiative not only enhanced skills but also strengthened a community of practice dedicated to improving Uzbekistan’s social protection landscape.

We are grateful to all participants and facilitators for their contributions to making this event a significant milestone. We look forward to future collaborations that will continue to enhance the capacity of NASP and ISP, ensuring the design and implementation of child-sensitive social protection policies that achieve substantial outcomes for the communities they serve.