Country case studies - Impact to social protection access in light of the pandemic

As a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, social protection systems all over the world have been put under intense pressure to meet increased demands for support.

In order to respond to the economic and social challenges arising from the pandemic, many countries have rushed through novel social protection programmes, expanded or narrowed the scope of existing ones, or introduced significant changes to the ways in which they identify and select beneficiaries or deliver support.

However, these emergency and often short-term solutions can be costly for beneficiaries in human rights terms, or altogether leave large numbers of people behind and at risk, exacerbating existing inequalities and disproportionately prejudicing vulnerable populations.

These stories delve into the practical consequences of these changes in beneficiaries’ livelihoods across a range of countries.


Long Read

Privacy International has been researching how emergency welfare responses have been handled in different countries in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the variety of socio-economic and political contexts of the countries researched, PI has found that a lot of them share common concerning elements along the benefit disbursement process, namely the automation of eligibility processes, lack of transparency, excessive data collection, security issues in disbursement methods and more.

Long Read

In response to the pandemic, the Colombian National Development office devised an unconditional cash transfer programme in only two weeks. The beneficiary selection process, which was solely based on data already held by the government, remains shrouded in obscurity.

Long Read

Millions of people rely on India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) to receive subsidised food rations, which have become an essential ingredient of survival for many families during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, access to food rations is not guaranteed for all beneficiaries, with many women being left without access to food at a time of crisis.