The STAAR Facility is dedicated to expanding and improving the effectiveness of investments in both social protection approaches in crises, and gender-responsive social protection. Actors from national governments, donors, and implementing partners are encouraged to access free support on these topics – in the form of independent technical assistance, specialist advice, or bespoke resources.
How might social protection be used in crisis contexts?
Strengthening social protection systems directly benefits people living in, or at risk of, crisis caused by conflict, political and economic instability, or environmental fragility. Linking traditional humanitarian assistance — which provides the bulk of support to conflict-affected communities — with social protection systems can build people’s resilience to crises while addressing underlying poverty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how powerful social protection can be as a tool for crisis response. It has been used by governments across the globe to help people manage the economic fall-out of the pandemic. Those countries with stronger routine social protection systems have been able to meet emerging needs more quickly and effectively than others. The STAAR Facility can provide on-demand support with understanding what’s needed to strengthen new and existing systems in response to or anticipation of any crisis. This starts with ensuring that each element of a country’s social protection system (see figure 1) is built on an understanding of the specific risks its people face.
What do we mean by gender-responsive social protection?
Social protection has genuine potential to address the drivers of gender inequality as well as poverty and vulnerability — closing gender gaps in education, health, and economic opportunities. Systems and programmes can be designed or strengthened using a gender lens — examining how each element of the system (see Figure 1) can best integrate gender equality considerations. In relation to girls’ education, for example, programme poverty and vulnerability assessments of the social protection system should map girls’ and boys’ access to and success in education, while benefits packages might include a scale-up of school feeding to maximise attention spans. Gender inequalities can also be addressed through more integrated programming, strengthening linkages between social protection and other services such as health and GBV protection. The STAAR Facility can provide bespoke advice on and assistance with all aspects of gender-responsive social protection.
Figure 1: The Social Protection “Solar System”
How can you access direct support from STAAR?
Whether you want hands-on help with the design and delivery of social protection programming; a rapid synthesis of evidence to support decision-making; or niche technical insights on specific topics – the STAAR team will help you scope and shape the right package of support to meet your needs.
Once your request has been received, STAAR will assign a technical point of contact, who will work with you and a team of relevant experts to understand your needs and design appropriate support. Typical assignments might include:
- Programme and policy scoping, design, review and implementation support
- Strengthening individual and organisational skills and knowledge through embedded support or short-term inputs
- Knowledge production and co-creation, analysis, synthesis, and dissemination; and support with engagement and collaboration across organisations and networks – convening, facilitation and policy influence.
You can request direct support from STAAR by contacting STAAR@STAARfacility.org. If you would like one of our experts to participate in an event, have a topic or case study you want to share, or are interested in exploring co-authoring a publication – please contact us in the same way.
The Social Protection Technical Assistance, Advice, and Resources Facility (STAAR) is a joint initiative of the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth, & Development Office (FCDO)’s Better Assistance in Crises (BASIC) and Gender-Responsive Social Protection (GSP) programs. All costs related to accessing and utilising STAAR services are funded by FCDO. Service implementation by a DAI Global UK Ltd led consortium.