ODI Series Ep. 2 | National cash transfer responses to Covid-19: operational lessons

This is the second episode of the “Covid-19: a turning point for social protection?” podcast series.

In the months of June and July, the Social Protection Podcast is hosting a special series in partnership with ODI and GIZ. Across six episodes, our guest host Francesca Bastagli, Director of the Equity and Social Policy programme and Principal Research Fellow at ODI, will moderate conversations around the guiding question: “Covid-19: a turning point for social protection?”.

These six episodes are part of an ODI research project, funded by GIZ, on the emerging evidence and learning from social protection measures adopted in the early months, and within the first year, of the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. It asks how effective have social protection responses to Covid-19 to date been, especially for some of those hardest hit, including refugees, women, informal workers and people living in urban areas? What policy features enabled or hindered adequate crisis response? And, while many of the measures are temporary, what potential opportunities and risks do they present for strengthening social protection in the long term?

The ODI-GIZ study covers six thematic areas, each with an accompanying paper. Each week of this podcast special series, Francesca will be joined by the lead author of one of the papers, along with an expert discussant.

This episode explores social protection implementation and delivery. The pandemic raised operational challenges for social protection systems, arising from both lockdown measures and virus transmission risks and the stark increases in demand for assistance among millions of people in need of support. Amid these crisis conditions, operational adjustments and innovations were adopted, including through an increased reliance on digital approaches. How well have the measures taken to date worked, especially for those previously excluded from social protection systems? Do the innovations adopted promise to support inclusive, adaptive social protection going forward, or risk perpetuating gaps and inequities? What lessons are emerging for system strengthening and response to future shocks?

This episode was inspired by the ODI-GIZ project thematic paper “National cash transfer responses to Covid-19: operational lessons learned for social protection system-strengthening and future shocks” by Christy Lowe, Anna McCord and Rodolfo Beazley (2021).


Our guests this week are:

  • Christy Lowe, Research Officer - Equity and Social Policy Programme, ODI.
  • Madhumitha Hebbar, MAINTAINS project Lead Researcher, Independent Consultant


Episode links

Social protection response to Covid-19 and beyond: lessons for adaptive social protection and future crises

Towards shock-responsive social protection - COVID-19 case studies

On-demand and up-to-date? Dynamic inclusion and data updating for social assistance

Webinar recording - Taking stock at the one-year mark: social protection during COVID-19 and beyond


Other episodes in this series

ODI series Ep. 1 | Social protection provisions to refugees during the Covid-19 pandemic

ODI Series Ep. 3 | Covid-19: crisis as opportunity for urban cash transfers?

ODI Series Ep. 4 | Have social protection responses to Covid-19 undermined or supported gender equality?

ODI Series Ep. 5 | ODA financing for social protection: lessons from the Covid-19 crisis response

ODI Series Ep. 6 | Covid-19 crisis: opportunities and risks for extending social protection to informal workers