SPRI Global Senior Associates supported the German Agency for International Cooperation / Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in an evaluation of the services provided by the virtual helpdesk called SPACE: Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert advice services. SPACE was jointly set up by FCDO and GIZ to technically support partner country governments as well as GIZ, KfW and FCDO country programmes in adapting their social protection systems and programmes to the increased needs due to the COVID-19 crisis. By March 2021, SPACE has supported 39 countries through over 90 engagements providing independent, evidence-based, timely, practical, and actionable advice.
The evaluation primarily collected qualitative information on the demand and utility of the SPACE programme as well as informants’ perceptions of its achievements and potential contributions in the future. Additionally, the evaluation also looked at the supply side of the SPACE services, particularly with regards to the scope and capacity of expertise. Information had been collected through a combination of desk review, key informant interviews and group interviews.
The evaluation report included the following questions:
- Which target groups were reached, to what extent, and what services did they use?
- To what extent were Governments reached?
- Which gaps did SPACE fill with its services for relevant institutions and for the global social protection and humanitarian cash linkage communities?
- How were the gender and inclusion perspectives in the COVID-19 response enhanced through SPACE advice?
- How was the humanitarian and social protection nexus enhanced through SPACE advice? Was the expertise provided by SPACE seen as useful?
- To what extent was advice from SPACE implemented? If not, why?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of such a virtual format? Is there a longer term need perceived?
SPACE has been operating since April 2020 and has already provided advice to over 30 countries. SPACE has also developed technical analytical framework documents on different sub-topics that serve the global social protection community and are increasingly being used by other development and humanitarian organizations.
SPACE is composed of approx. 30 leading international experts in the area of adaptive social protection, including social insurance, the linkages to labour markets and informal workers, social protection financing, humanitarian and social protection nexus, humanitarian cash, mobile and digital technologies for delivery of cash, gender and inclusion, amongst others.