European Commission - SPaN (2019) Case Study: Mauritania

An ECHO-funded technical assistance facility, managed by the World Food Programme (WFP), aims to explore how social protection systems can be strengthened in fragile and forced displacement contexts, with a view to contributing to the global learning agenda on when and how these can be used to address humanitarian needs in a more cost-effective, efficient and predictable way. Short-term technical assistance has been provided to improve programme design or implementation in nine countries facing protracted crises1 Each assignment tackles a priority theme identified collectively by humanitarian and development partners, complementing and catalysing efforts by national governments and their partners to enhance the well-being of chronically poor or vulnerable populations, those affected by crises, those living in conflict situations and/or refugees.

The assignments focus on linkages between humanitarian action and social protection: this includes the identification of good practices and recommendations for improved institutional coordination, knowledge transfer, and delivery systems such as information systems or payment mechanisms. Projects are designed and managed in country by a partnership of WFP, FAO, ECHO, UNICEF, DFID and World Bank representatives, in consultation with the government and other agencies according to the context. One partner serves as the lead in each country.

This briefing note summarises technical assistance in Mauritania. This focuses on Mauritania’s Social Registry, designed to support targeting of long-term social protection programmes, and assessed the feasibility of using this for targeting seasonal programmes (including humanitarian interventions) that are responding to shocks contributing to food insecurity. We examined feasibility in relation to six factors – how data in the register can inform shock response (inclusion of those most in need, extent of gaps); the dynamism of the registry in the face of shocks; the options for articulating linkages between shock response interventions and regular social protection programmes through the registry, their pros and cons; how transparency and accountability to affected populations can be ensured; whether registry-based targeting could allow some level geographical continuity in the response (as opposed to the humanitarian practice of concentrating assistance in certain villages only); and information sharing arrangements between humanitarian actors and the government registry services. We developed methodological guidance to use the registry for this purpose and improve the consistency, timeliness and efficiency of targeting on shock response programmes while maximising accountability.

This case study was produced as part of the “Guidance Package on Social Protection across the Humanitarian-Development Nexus” (SPaN). It is the outcome of an initiative jointly led by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Directorate- General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) with the support of DEVCO Unit 04 and the MKS programme. For a full list of knowledge materials published by the SPaN Initiative, please access the community page "European Commission - SPaN" and activate notifications from the Social Protection in Crisis Contexts online community. 

Technical reports
Social Protection Approaches: