Worldwide—Social Protection Technical Assistance, Advice, and Resources (STAAR) Facility

Client: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Duration: 2021-2024

Region: Worldwide

Country: Worldwide

Solutions: Fragile States

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. The project is dedicated to expanding and improving the effectiveness of investments in both gender-responsive social protection and social protection approaches in crises. Actors from national governments, donors, and implementing partners are encouraged to access the Facility for free, with direct support from STAAR’s independent technical assistance, specialist advice, or bespoke resources.

Social protection reduces both poverty and inequality. Predictable access to support, when it is needed, empowers people to navigate foreseeable and unexpected risks throughout their lives and can help them to overcome deeply ingrained inequalities.

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 and increase human capital.

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. Critically, those countries with stronger routine social protection systems have been able to meet emerging needs more quickly and effectively than others.

Social protection has genuine potential to address the drivers of gender inequality as well as poverty—closing gender gaps in education, health, and economic opportunities. Systems and programs can be designed or strengthened using a gender lens—examining how each element of the system can best integrate gender equality considerations. In relation to girls’ education, for example, program 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 maximize attention spans.

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Sample Activities

  • Provide technical guidance on options for using social protection through adaption, development, phasing, coordination, and mapping of responses.
  • Advise on the application of gender and social inclusion principles when providing social protection.
  • Advise on opportunities for the social protection and humanitarian assistance nexus.
  • Advise on localization: working with affected communities, community groups, and local government, to improve targeting, registration, distribution, and inclusion, for example.
  • Provide policy guidance on the provision of social protection.
  • Review, and support the development of, country-specific plans for social protection.
  • Share evidence accrued over time and globally through country case studies, and international best practices.
  • Provide learning sessions through multiple media (webinars, learning briefs, country-specific sessions, etc.)
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