Social protection provisions to refugees during the Covid-19 pandemic: Lessons learned from government and humanitarian responses 

This paper is part of the research project ‘Social protection response to Covid-19 and beyond: lessons learned for adaptive social protection’. You can listen to our Social Protection Podcast episode based on this paper here

Refugees have been supported by innumerable cash or voucher interventions implemented by international humanitarian and development actors during the Covid-19 pandemic, but only a few of these have explicitly aligned or integrated with government social protection responses. Refugees residing in low- and middle-income countries have mostly been excluded from government social protection responses, and where they have been included (largely in Latin America and the Caribbean) this typically represents a continuation of pre-pandemic policy.

This paper reviews the evidence on:

  • the inclusion of refugees in government-led social protection responses to Covid-19 in the Republic of Congo and Colombia
  • the alignment or integration of international humanitarian and development actors’ cash assistance to refugees and government social protection responses – focusing on Jordan and Pakistan.

It considers the effectiveness of Covid-19 social protection responses for refugees, emerging lessons and whether the crisis and its response holds potential for a longer-term shift in social protection and humanitarian support to refugees.