Rapid Socio-Economic Response (RASER) Initiative

RASER is being implemented in three provinces of Hormozgan, Lorestan & Tehran

Click here to watch: Supporting Women Headed Households: A Story of Resilience & Hope


The Islamic Republic of Iran was among one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of number of confirmed cases and deaths. In addition to the staggeringly high number of confirmed cases and deaths caused by the pandemic which burdened Iran’s health system, the pandemic has left drastic consequences on the socio-economic aspects.

The UN system in Iran developed a Crisis Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP) to help and support the Government of Iran with a coherent and integrated response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic on the vulnerable populations and communities.

RASER initiative

UNDP, as part of the CPRP, co-lead the socio-economic response. UNDP launched a sub-national 'Rapid Socio-Economic Response’ (RASER) initiative to support micro and small enterprises – including women entrepreneurs manufacturing personal protective equipment – and catalyze effective emergency cash transfer measures with the aim of providing immediate income relief to vulnerable populations, and severely impacted households (including women-headed households), technical support and seed funding for the government in the design and roll-out of COVID-19-sensitive social protection and livelihood instruments.

The overall objective of this initiative is to contribute to address the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable populations and affected businesses in Iran, through the introduction of an innovative (Building Forward Better), rapidly scalable response and recovery measures.

The initiative is being implemented in three provinces of Hormozgan, Lorestan, and Tehran.


  • Alternative income-generating opportunities for vulnerable populations and affected businesses, including women-headed households, are catalyzed through the adoption of innovative supply and demand-side measures based  on improving the value chain of the comparative advantages.
  • A newly-designed and better targeted social protection scheme is tested, contributing to increase in the resilience of vulnerable households, including women-headed households, against the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and future, post-COVID-19, shocks.


The RASER initiative adopted a Direct Implementation Modality (DIM) and worked closely with:

  • Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare
  • Ministry of Jihad Agriculture
  • Vice Presidency for Women and Family Affairs

Key achievements

  • 8,000 locally produced personal protective equipment packages were distributed among 5,000 vulnerable groups as an emergency response
  • 5,450 jobs affected by COVID-19 were supported
  • 3,850 households benefited from social protection schemes
  • Leading affected jobs to work with local comparative advantages and value chain approach regarding sustainability.
  • Supporting the development of standards and procedures for the government and other organizations to assist affected businesses

Project start date: April 2020

Click here to watch: Supporting Women Headed Households: A Story of Resilience & Hope