23 May 2022 LESSONS

Supporting our Partners and the Communities they serve during the pandemic

A woman wearing a face mask

The goal was to increase the resilience of our partners and help them to get over the negative impact of the crisis, combining the provision of ‘life-saving’ support with the desire to maintain a strong ecosystem of partners who are seen as crucial for the foundation’s systems change ambitions.


The Emergency Response (ER) strategy involved:

  • Providing additional funds to be spent on beneficiaries’ basic needs, organisational costs related to the disruption of activities and the need to adapt to remote working;
  • Additional flexibility in existing grants;
  • Technical support. 

The majority of the partners who accessed these emergency response provisions were located in Brazil and Asia.


Partner: Multiple

Investment: EUR 4 million

Duration: 2020 - 2021

Geographic region: Global


Highly relevant to partner requirements during the pandemic, the emergency response has demonstrated positive results.

The support measure accessed most was the additional funds for beneficiary communities and additional financing for partner organisations; increased flexibility was considered to be relevant by partners.

The emergency response provided a significant number of vulnerable beneficiaries with ‘life-saving’ support and helped maintain and build community relationships with partners. This was a key factor in maintaining the continuity of our work throughout the pandemic. The rapidity of the emergency response was crucial to its relevance and filled funding gaps before other sources arrived. Further issues on gender, equity and social inclusion (GESI) were therefore integrated by partners even though there was no such specific focus in the ER design.

The broad objective laid out for the emergency response allowed for flexibility. However, while the foundation’s response was similar to that of other comparable organisations, and was slightly more rapid than others interviewed, it was not as flexible due to the mandatory grant proposal and reporting requirements.

The emergency response was highly effective and achieved its objectives by putting in place the long-term potential for continued systems change work with partners.

The ER achieved its objectives, enabling partners to cope with the pandemic and thereby maintaining an ecosystem of actors required to work on transforming systems. There are signs that the ER also contributed to building the resilience of partners to future shocks.

The EUR 4 million Laudes Foundation ER fund was leveraged to access an additional EUR 8 million, thereby helping partners to support even more communities.

With resilience at its heart, the response strategy was focused on sustaining partners and communities for systems change and enabling them to continue their work post pandemic. This was achieved by the foundation’s collaborative approach and excellent partner relationships, as well as its comparative advantage in having good regional presence with staff on the ground in countries that were badly impacted by the pandemic.

The ability of the foundation to take rapid decisions independently was key to the efficiency of the emergency response.

What did we learn?

Laudes Foundation

Being a ‘first responder’, before other funders, allows partners to leverage additional funds.

While rapid responses are vital, emergency strategies have to consider the post-acute phase where crises can be prolonged with secondary effects.

Emergency responses are best designed with programme teams and partners at the helm, allowing them to understand the needs on the ground.

It is important to establish operational definitions of resilience in order to address the measurement of success and assess what ‘good’ looks like.

For Partners & Others

In times of crisis, partners are likely to prioritise the support of immediate needs for the communities they work with over organisational resilience. Partners are best placed to design and implement relevant response strategies.

Crises represent moments of learning and opportunity, to rethink strategies and to test new ways of working.

Partners on the ground generate information that can be used by others within networks and make the important connections to available government welfare schemes; these are key amplifiers of impact in crises and should be encouraged where possible and relevant.