Designing and Implementing Social Transfer Programmes

A course for policymakers, government officials and  programme practitioners around the world

1 October – 12 October 2018

Chiang Mai, Thailand

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About the course

Around the world, developing countries are increasingly recognising the value of social transfer programmes in reducing extreme poverty, with success stories in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) and HelpAge International, together with the UNU-MERIT/Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, are offering a two-week course including a number of specialised modules aimed at providing participants with an in-depth understanding of the conceptual and practical issues involved in the development of social transfer programmes. Participants will acquire tools required for the appropriate identification and successful design and implementation of these programmes.

Who is it for?

These courses aim to build the capacity of government policymakers and officials, representatives from bilateral and multilateral agencies, programme practitioners and staff members from non-governmental organisations. These courses will serve those who want to more effectively design, implement and manage social transfer programmes with the goal of reducing poverty and better achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

How participants will benefit

At the end of these courses, the successful participant will better understand the comprehensive approach to social protection and how appropriate cash transfer instruments can reduce poverty and vulnerability and promote developmental outcomes. These courses will reinforce the skills required to identify, design and implement effective social transfer programmes. A team of international experts, skilled professionals and leaders in the field will teach the course. The certificated course will be jointly accredited by the UNU-MERIT/Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and HelpAge International.

What the course will cover

The first five days of the course includes a coordinated series of theme-oriented sessions, practical skills-building workshops, field trips to visit social transfer sites and relevant technical skills training. The course will be taught using formal lectures, practical case studies and hands-on exercises.

Topics will include:

  • The role of cash transfers in reducing poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion
  • The identification of appropriate social transfer instruments for specific country contexts
  • The design of cash transfer programmes
  • Implementation issues, including registration, targeting, payment and information systems
  • Monitoring and evaluation approaches for social transfer programmes
  • Case studies of successful programmes around the world
  • Field trips to see Thailand’s social transfer system in action

Choose a specialisation

During the second week of the course, participants will choose one of several intensive, five-day modules on a specialised topic. For more information, please email  Graduates of past courses and/or people with extensive social protection experience can elect to attend a specialist module only (8- 12 October 2018).

Please Note: Offerings may vary based on demand and courses are subject to cancellation if minimum enrollments are not met, but typical options include:

Social protection policy

This module exposes the participants to the policy-making process for social protection. Drawing on case studies and policymaking theory, participants will discuss the different components of policy documents, taking into consideration the political economy, policy-relevant evidence, and other contextual issues. The module equips participants with a framework for developing and analyzing social protection policies and lets them view such policies in an international perspective.

 Monitoring and evaluating social protection programmes

This course offers its participants an in-depth practical understanding of how monitoring and impact assessment can be used to evaluate programme success. Participants will consider alternative monitoring and evaluation designs including quantitative, qualitative and integrated approaches. They will study evidence-building pilots as tools for policy innovation, how evidence from monitoring and evaluation exercises can be communicated to key decision makers to build support for programmes, and the use of technology to improve M&E outcomes.

The M&E specialisation includes micro-simulation modelling, which is a valuable tool for planning and designing a range of social and economic policies. Successful participants gain an in-depth conceptual and practical understanding of how to use STATA and ADePT-based models to analyse existing social protection policies and estimate the impacts of proposed initiatives. This component equips participants with tools to build a national model that simulates interventions at the individual and household level. A strong quantitative background and prior experience with Microsoft Excel is required.

 Ageing and Social Pensions

With the number of people aged 60 and over expected to triple by 2050 to almost 2 billion, this module focuses on how social protection systems will adapt to an ageing population in the world. The module will include an introduction to the demographic context, key factors affecting old age vulnerability and conceptual models around the roles of different elements of the pension system. The module equips participants with knowledge on the design, implementation and financial costs of both social (non-contributory)  and contributory pensions.  This module is offered by HelpAge International.

Financial inclusion and economic opportunity: linkages to social protection

This module provides participants with an in-depth and practical understanding of how new and existing social transfer programmes can be designed and implemented so as to promote livelihoods, increase financial inclusion, and achieve developmental outcomes. The module will detail successful international case studies and this will be applied within an evidence building framework to identify workable approaches for different country contexts.

For more information on our specialised topic courses, please click here.

Fees and other costs

The tuition fee for the two-week course is £2,990. The tuition fee includes travel for scheduled visits and optional hands-on computer-based skill workshops. The comprehensive accommodation and facilities fee is £1,570, which includes four-star accommodation, three meals per day and teas, per diems, recreational activities and tours, airport transfers and use of included facilities. The fees do not include international travel to and from Chiang Mai.

If you would only like to apply for the one week course – either the  core course or one of the  five-day specialised topics, the tuition fee is £1,690. The comprehensive accommodation and facilities fee is £870, which includes four-star accommodation, three meals per day and teas, per diems, airport transfers and use of included facilities. The fees do not include international travel to and from Chiang Mai.

We also offer an alternative comprehensive accommodation and facilities fee using three-star accommodation nearby the course venue if required at a rate of £1,290 for 13 nights and £730 for six nights. For those participants who wish to arrange their own accommodation, you would still have to pay the course facilities fee to cover one meal per day and teas, and one gala dinner each week. The cost of the facilities fee only is £540 for two weeks £300 for one week.

How to apply

Click here for an online application form for the two week course.

Click here for an online application form for one of the one week advanced topic courses.

To apply by post or fax, email or contact EPRI at:

3rd floor, Sanclare Building
21 Dreyer Street, Claremont
Cape Town, South Africa 7700

Phone: +27 (0)21 671 3301
Fax: +27 (0)21 671 3157


EPRI and HelpAge International are offering this course together with the UNU-MERIT/Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, in partnership with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton.

About EPRI

The Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) is a South African-based non-governmental organisation with extensive experience in social protection research, policy advisory work and capacity-building. EPRI designs and teaches tailor-made courses and programmes to meet the specific needs of national parliaments, government departments and civil society organisations.

About HelpAge International

HelpAge International is a non-governmental organisation whose aim is  to help older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. HelpAge has been involved in social protection with a focus on social pensions since 2004.

About UNU-MERIT/Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

UNU-MERIT is a joint research and training institute of United Nations University and Maastricht University, based in the Netherlands. The institute explores the social, political and economic factors that drive technological innovation, with a particular focus on creation, diffusion and access to knowledge. Working with its School of Governance (MGSoG), UNU-MERIT covers all aspects of governance in domestic and global organizations, from risk assessment to policy analysis, design and evaluation. The MGSoG prepares professionals and researchers for policy analysis, risk assessment, policy design, policy monitoring, policy evaluation and methods and techniques of policy research. Overall the joint institute functions as a unique research centre and graduate school for more than 80 PhD fellows and 100 Master students. It is also a UN think tank addressing a broad range of policy questions on science, innovation and democratic governance.

About IDS

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a leading global institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.