In an important collaborative mission, SPRI Global, UNICEF Jordan, and our respected colleagues, Prof Chris de Neubourg, Dr. Zina Nimeh, and Nesha Ramful, are diligently working to establish a resilient, shock-responsive social protection system in Jordan.

As a lower middle-income country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Jordan has experienced a series of shocks, including economic crises, regional conflicts, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges underline the immediate need for a robust social protection system that can effectively respond to crises and limit their impact on vulnerable populations.

Our mission entails comprehensive dialogue and interaction with various stakeholders, including government institutions, local actors, and international organizations. A key part of our project is assessing Jordan’s COVID-19 response, where we highlight the gaps and lessons learned. Jordan’s social protection system, despite resource limitations and the severity of the crisis, swiftly introduced measures to mitigate the pandemic’s negative socio-economic effects on the most vulnerable groups. However, issues such as targeting, coordination, gender-specific vulnerabilities, and scalability have posed significant challenges.

Aligned with our mission, SPRI Global is conducting a study, “Building a Shock-Responsive National Social Protection System.” This study aims to map Jordan’s social protection system, providing a detailed analysis of policy frameworks and institutional arrangements. Our goal is to develop a diagnostic tool to scrutinize different aspects of the social protection systems that require modifications to enhance their shock-responsiveness.

Moreover, we’re guiding the process of crafting a shock-responsive social protection system for Jordan. This includes designing a costed action plan and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework that consider the system’s need for gender sensitivity, climate responsiveness, and the design implications of shock-responsive social protection programming and planning.

This project’s work is bolstered by an extensive literature review for best practices and a detailed, field-based qualitative data collection process engaging key governmental, international, and local stakeholders. The mission’s pinnacle was a comprehensive workshop where we shared invaluable lessons from Jordan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jordan National Social Protection Strategy 2019-2025 marked a significant step in developing a strong social protection system in the country. With continuous national efforts and international support, the time is ripe to enhance efforts towards creating a social protection system that is shock-responsive, sustainable, and context-specific.

We look forward to sharing our findings later this year and contributing to the ongoing conversation about building robust social protection systems. Stay tuned for our detailed report and publication as we persist in our efforts to fortify Jordan’s social protection system, enabling it to handle future shocks and crises, thereby protecting the nation’s most vulnerable groups.