Lessons from ADB’s Social Protection Interventions: A Synthesis of Learning on Social Assistance Support

Evaluation Document | 18 December 2020

This synthesis paper aims to summarize, synthesize, and integrate research findings and lessons from evaluations of ADB’s two decades of experience supporting social assistance initiatives. It aims to inform the design and implementation of similar interventions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic period, and IED’s ongoing and future evaluations.

Countries across the world are grappling with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. As in past crises, the pandemic is disproportionately affecting the poor and vulnerable, and it is feared it will reverse hard-earned gains made in reducing extreme poverty in the past decades. The pandemic has underlined the importance of social assistance programs, and exposed weaknesses in health and social protection systems in many countries. At the same time, the pandemic presents an opportunity to strengthen such systems.

The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) undertook a review of evaluations that were completed between 2001 and 2020 regarding Asian Development Bank (ADB) support for social assistance, to draw lessons from the design and implementation of social assistance programs, and to identify what worked well and what did not.