Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider the lessons learned from the inclusion of refugees in social protection systems during COVID-19
Learning lessons

A current research project, by the Overseas Development Institute, is examining social protection (SP) measures employed during the pandemic in LMICs. The project is producing a series of working papers. One paper examines the inclusion of refugees in government-led SP and the “alignment and integration of cash assistance to refugees and government social protection”. The paper evaluates the effectiveness of social protection responses across four countries in terms of: “Timeliness; coverage adequacy; and level adequacy (value of benefit)”. It also offers the emerging lessons from the study and initial policy recommendations. Consider:

Lessons on the drivers of effective government social protection response

  • The maturity of SP systems and pre-existing local and state capacities directly impacted how effectively SP programmes met the needs of refugees during COVID
  • Targeting criteria that evaluates eligibility based on risk of vulnerability could be more effective, timely and suitable during a crisis rather than traditional criteria such as length of residency or status
  • Benefit levels of government systems are unlikely to be sufficient for refugees’ needs, as these are typically higher than those of nationals and require very careful consideration. The main challenge identified when setting benefit levels which include refugees during the pandemic is that governments are “faced with two competing objectives: (1) preventing social tension and unfairness between population groups” (by varying benefit levels between refugees and nationals); and (2) “ensuring that everyone can meet their basic needs”

Policy recommendations for protecting refugees during a crisis

  • Conduct a national socio-economic survey, to include data on refugees’ needs, to develop an overview of the needs of the population across the country. This can enable more effective social protection programme design that effectively meets the needs of everyone
  • A review of registration processes can highlight barriers to access for refugees (e.g. in terms of the documents required to register for programmes). Where this is not possible, governments can “draw on international/national/local humanitarian actors’ databases of refugee populations” to swiftly target them with support during crisis
  • Hosting governments could consider “integrating refugees into social insurance” (e.g. those with work permits) which may reduce political or public opposition as those receiving benefits will be contributing to national insurance
  • Careful consideration of benefit levels and trade-offs between “politically greater acceptability but possibly lower effectiveness” in terms of meeting refugees needs is essential

Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)

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Consider how existing strategic partnerships can be extended to support other COVID-19 activities
Implementing recovery

In Pakistan, a National Immunization Support Project (NISP) supported by the World Bank has developed wider strategic collaborations to transform immunization by increasing vaccination coverage and strengthening existing systems and mechanisms. At the heart of NISP is a pooled procurement mechanism and governance structures which successfully sourced vaccines for Provinces and provided an uninterrupted supply for the past 4 years in an efficient and collaborative manner. When COVID-19 hit, NISP: (1) had a series of trusted partners, so repurposed its trusted procurement mechanism e.g. to procure PPE for health care workers; and, (2) was a trusted partner itself, so provided its own expertise to other partners beyond its usual remit e.g. to provide financial management governance to oversee funds. Inspired by (1), consider how your organisation can repurpose trusted partnerships and identify:

  • Major issues that are troublesome due to limited effective partnerships available to support
  • Where trusted strategic partnerships are already established and proven to be working well
  • How strategic partners can expand their collaboration to address the troublesome issues
  • The blockers, how to overcome them, and to expand the partnership to support response

Inspired by (2), consider how your organisation is the trusted partner that can help others and identify:

  • What general expertise your organisation has and is able to provide in support to partners
  • How your organisation can repurpose key skills and capabilities to go beyond its usual remit to offer support as a trusted partner
  • How your organisation can provide its normal services whilst providing support to response
  • The blockers, and how to overcome them, to provide your capabilities to others' response
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