Notable progress has been achieved in poverty reduction in Bangladesh as a result of planned and concerted actions. The country was recognized for its strong performance against majority of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and has achieved the level of lower middle income country (MIC). A World Bank Report (2016) has found that extreme poverty reduced significantly and the reasons include gender parity in education, effective family planning, and economic growth among others. Still 20 million people remain under extreme poverty, calling for effective poverty reduction programmes.
A wide range of social protection (SP) interventions by both government and non-governmental agencies are in effect within the national poverty reduction framework. Social protection is a response to the dynamic understanding of poverty and attending problems of risk and vulnerability (World Bank). Social protection is a large envelop in which many different socio-economic policies and measures can be placed. It encompasses the set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and the interruption/loss of income (ADB, 2012). Social protection provides protection and prevention services from insecurity and vulnerability including safety net, social security, social transfer, social insurance, health care, etc. Social protection can help people meet immediate basic needs in times of crisis in the short-term and also can have longer-term aims for enabling people to move permanently out of poverty (Babajanian et al., 2014) by improving opportunities for inclusive growth, human capital development, equity and social stability. Some social protection programmes intend to be transformative, supporting equity, empowerment and human rights.