COVID-19 Response & Recovery: the IRF at work on two HVT Projects

Earlier this year, the COVID-19 Response & Recovery Transport Research Fund was established by the Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP) and the High Volume Transport Applied Research Programme (HVT) as part of the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID now FCDO) response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 is having a devastating socio-economic impact globally and has been acutely felt not least by people in low-income countries (LIC). Transport is at the centre of managing the spread of the pandemic and will be key to ensuring rapid and sustained recovery. A Call for Action highlighted the need for: a) curation of LIC-specific information, b) a common platform for COVID-19 impacts information, and, c) transformative transport agenda for a post-COVID-19 world.

In response to this Call, two IRF projects were selected for implementation and have commenced in November 2020. Firstly, the IRF, in collaboration with the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, has started working on the six-month project “Africa’s response to COVID-19 and its impact on transport and mobility of people and goods.  A review of policy and practice in seven African countries.”. This project focusses on Cameroon, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

Specifically, this research project aims to fill the gap between COVID-19 policy design and implementation and impact by gathering data on the COVID-19 related restrictions that were implemented in these countries at the institutional level, and how these impacted transport and mobility of people and goods on the ground. The project will provide evidence-based suggestions that policy makers in Africa should consider when defining responses to potential future waves of COVID-19 and recovery measures.

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Secondly, the IRF was awarded a three-month project to transform and enhance the existing Global Transport Knowledge Portal (gTKP). This platform, originally created through generous funding by DFID, and which has been hosted by the IRF since 2009 will be enhanced to fast-track LIC (and others) access to knowledge, experience, learning resources and good practices on COVID-19 response and impacts. Further, the aim is to work in partnership with other initiatives and organisations, and to see gTKP grow into a fully-fledged capacity-building hub in the near future.

The project intends to locate and gather currently available and relevant resources for LICs, and to provide effective access to hands-on knowledge and expertise that can inform action at all levels and help build local capacity, as well as to identify the needs and potential gaps.

For more information, please contact the IRF Secretariat at info@irfnet.ch.