The management of social protection knowledge in Malawi
With a commitment to producing evidence to support the advancement of social protection under the Malawi National Social Support Programme II (MNSSP II), prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the Government of Malawi would often host learning forums to share findings from studies, operational trials, and analytical work. These events enabled the government and development partners to build knowledge from existing evidence and helped establish a way forward for social protection programming in the country.
Also prior to the pandemic, the UN Joint Programme on Social Protection for the Sustainable Development Goals (SP4SDG) had planned to support the government with the consolidation and dissemination of social protection knowledge via additional learning events, though to adhere to social distancing guidelines, these events were indefinitely postponed.
Adapting to the new way of working
There remained a need to strengthen the knowledge management capacity in the social protection sector for development partners and for the Government of Malawi to share results and learning, while respecting public health guidelines. The joint programme team recognized that remote working would rely on online knowledge management tools more than ever. As such, they were determined to adapt the learning events into an online resource repository for Malawi-centric social protection resources. The programme teamed up with the Government of Malawi’s ICT unit, “E-Government,” to design a scope of work and project plan for the site, and to map out a research process to gather and catalogue the numerous available resources. The MNSSP Social Protection Resource Site is expected to be launched in May 2021.
The online platform
Working in collaboration with technical counterparts in the government, the joint programme is building an online information sharing platform that will enhance the overall knowledge management capacity of all entities involved in strengthening Malawi’s social protection system. The website will be structured in line with the MNSSP II pillars and serve as a searchable document repository for the Government of Malawi and partners for all related evidence and useful resources that have been produced to support the advancement of social protection in Malawi.
The site is being developed by the E-Government team with support from the joint programme to identify, review, and catalogue the numerous resources currently housed on a variety of platforms - Government of Malawi sites, UN agency and NGO website and databases, and research institution publication repositories just to name a few. The site will house a database of the resources and a search function will allow users to easily identify documents. The searchable database will help the
government and development partners to map out and learn from existing evidence to produce new areas of knowledge, to more easily identify knowledge gaps, and to avoid repeating research initiatives that have already taken place.
A collaborative effort
The sustainability and usefulness of this site depends entirely on the continued close collaboration with key counterparts from E-Government, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Population Planning and Social Welfare, and the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology. This site is fully owned by the Government of Malawi and it will remain a valuable tool long after the closure of the joint programme.