Emerging field practices to COVID-19 in refugee contexts

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Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, regions around the world have been facing challenges in dealing with large and mixed migration flows, particularly in localities that previously lacked response plans and the conditions to receive and integrate refugees, asylum seekers, and other forcedly displaced persons. Governmental and civil society actors continue to face the daunting task of containing the rapidly spreading coronavirus, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Due to lock-down measures and restrictions on movement that have been imposed by governments around the world, many refugees and asylum seekers working in the informal sector are losing their primary source of income and their ability to pay rent and buy food and other essentials, such as medicine. The COVID-19 emergency has worsened pre-existing vulnerabilities for this population experiencing difficulties in accessing social protection systems.

To respond to these challenges, innovative field practices to promote inclusion and expand coverage in social assistance and protection programs for refugees are emerging. This webinar has showcased practical UNHCR cash responses across different continents, including adjustments to existing cash-based interventions (CBI), use of complementary shock responsive social safety net (SSN) programmes and challenges that refugees face in accessing social protection. Additionally, WFP and its government counterpart from Gerencia de Frontera shared the experience of Colombia of the shock responsive social protection pilot as a complementary initiative to the national social protection response to Covid-19 that scales up assistance to Venezuelans and host communities in the district of Arauca.

Through these experiences, the webinar explored how COVID-19 has impacted existing and new efforts as well as its implications for future work in strengthening and adapting social protection in refugee contexts. Ahead of World Refugee Day (20 June), this webinar anticipated another discussion around opportunities for the inclusion of refugees under the social protection umbrella. Make sure you also watch the recording of the session on 18 June.

 

Speakers:

Hanna Mattinen, Global Cash Operations, UNHCR Geneva

Tania Niño, World Food Programme, Colombia Office

Camilo Buitrago Hernández, Gerencia para la Respuesta a la Migración desde Venezuela 

 

Moderator:

Nancy Landa, Technical Advisor, Skills for Reintegration Global Program – Pilot Project in Mexico, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ GmbH

 

This was the fourteenth webinar of the “Social protection responses to COVID-19” webinar seriesThe series is a joint effort initiated by the IPC-IGGIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Australia Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) collaboration with the socialprotection.org platform, and in cooperation with partners from different organisations. Join our online community ''Social protection responses to COVID-19 [Task force]'' to learn more about the initiative and future webinars.