2020 Retrospective: Social Protection Responses to COVID-19

a black woman cleaning a train


Back in March 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), the IPC-IG and its partners had to quickly adapt most of their on-going projects to advise and support governments, as well as systematise information on countries’ social protection responses to COVID-19 to facilitate knowledge sharing efforts regarding the new challenges ahead. 

The Centre’s research team joined the task force “Social protection Responses to COVID-19” in collaboration with the socialprotection.org platform, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia. The goal was to disseminate information and promote discussions on how social protection systems and measures were being used worldwide to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

With the support of the IPC-IG's researchers and UN Volunteers, the Task Force produced 23 issues of a newsletter that reached over 6,500 people and a webinar series which held 32 sessions with 27 partner organisations—reaching up to 6,000 live views. An Online Community hosted by the socialprotection.org platform works as a living repository and a space for policymakers to gather information and discuss key topics. See a short animated video highlighting the initiative’s main accomplishments.

The Task Force ended in October, but the Online Community is still active and being updated regularly. From March to October, this Online Community was visited over 25,000 times. It will be revamped soon: among the new functionalities to be introduced are the promotion of debates and links to a new interactive dashboard, hosted at socialprotection.org, which will present an extensive mapping of social protection responses to COVID-19 in the global South.

The mapping started being built in March and has so far identified 441 measures, detailing important programme design features in response to the pandemic. This effort had the support of the UNDP and GIZ. Twenty three collaborators from the IPC-IG and 14 volunteers from the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme worked on it. The initiative also had contributions from experts from the Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19—Expert advice helpline (SPACE) and from the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA). The mapping builds on previous work carried out by the IPC-IG with UNICEF Regional Offices in South Asia, Middle East and North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, and also on other existing mappings—such as those from the ILO and the World Bank. 

Photo: Angelo Pieretti on Flickr/CC BY 2.0 http://bit.ly/38ooBb6