Ecuador’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection seeks to bring the youth population working in the informal economy (aged 18-29) into the social protection system and enable their access to decent employment. Innovative policy instruments are being designed to integrate youth into contribution-based social security, while building their capacities, skills, and financial resources. The transition and access to decent working conditions and social services will be facilitated through a collaboratively implemented social protection scheme, along with vocational and technical training, inclusive financial mechanisms and human rights awareness-building activities.
Significant progress has been made over the first six months. Cross-sectoral workshops, focus groups and surveys have been conducted to gather data on youth participation in the social security system. The JP has supported the Government in establishing a technical working group and developing a national social protection and recovery strategy. The development of financial inclusion mechanisms has been nourished by the integration of a gender approach in the Nacional Strategy for Financial Inclusion; and the launch of “The Purple Economy”, a Government program integrating financial inclusion policies with a gender focus. A virtual workshop was also held to identify risks faced by young women when applying for work online.
The JP has repurposed up to 20% of funding for COVID-related activities. To this end, an online survey was launched in four target cities to gather the socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 on youth employment, while a webinar on business continuity and recovery was hosted to provide tools to mitigate the impact of the crisis on small enterprises. Thus, despite the current global context, the JP in Ecuador has taken positive steps towards including informal youth workers in the national social protection system.