On 12th May 2016, socialprotection.org launched the new webinar series Shock-Responsive Social Protection Systems with the webinar “A Framework and Practical Guidance on Linking Humanitarian Cash Transfers with Long-Term Social Safety Nets”. This webinar was organized by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and The Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP).  

The webinar drew from two recently published papers: OPM’s working paper “Conceptualising Shock-Responsive Social Protection”, and CaLP’s “Working with cash based safety-nets in humanitarian contexts: Guidance note for humanitarian practitioners”. It featured presentations and discussion by Paula Gil Baizan (Advocacy Coordinator, CaLP), Clare O’Brien (Senior Consultant, Poverty and Social Protection, OPM), and Nupur Kukrety (Consultant, CaLP). The presentation of this webinar can be accessed here, and the recording here. All webinars in this series are joined under the Shock Responsive Social Protection Systems tag.

 Following an introduction by Alicia Spengler, Paula Gil Baizan introduced the main objectives of the webinar: firstly, to increase engagement with and the utilization of OPM’s and CaLP’s knowledge resources by reaching a wider range of stakeholders; and secondly, to generate discussion between the humanitarian cash community and social protection community, to work more effectively with national governments and bridge the humanitarian – development divide, and to identify further opportunities to engage with vulnerable groups. This webinar, Paula emphasized, is the first of a series addressing these topics.

Clare O’Brien began the feature presentations, introducing the research by OPM and how it is important in practice. Her presentation was structured into three sections which had very clear objectives. Firstly, Clare began by laying out the context, to produce a clear understanding of the areas of cross over between the humanitarian sector and the social protection sector. With the increasing frequency of shocks and stresses, and the cost of humanitarian action, the question arises as to whether it could be more efficient to use a social protection system to provide some of the response. In the second part of her presentation, Clare presented OPM research to demonstrate the five ways in which social protection system can be used to respond to such shocks. She clearly explained the methods of vertical expansion, horizontal expansion, piggybacking, shadow alignment, and refocusing. These five approaches are central to OPM’s research and this webinar series. Having introduced the approaches, Clare then moved onto the final part of her presentation, pointing the attendees to resources for further information on the research carried out by OPM.

Thereafter, Nupur Kukrety went into detail of the five approaches outlined by Clare, giving examples of programme options, and some practicalities in a humanitarian programme. She began with vertical and horizontal scale up. In both of these approaches, Nupur explained, the humanitarian role will be to support the government, as they are suitable only when there already exists a fairly strong social protection and assistance system. In these case, humanitarian actors can assist with the transfer of resources, facilitating communication between stakeholders, monitoring and evaluation and other activities. In the case of Piggybacking, the role of humanitarian actions will be to lead the design and implementation of the humanitarian response. This can be done in two ways: using existing Social Assistance beneficiary list; and using the existing cash delivery mechanism. This would allow humanitarian actors to effectively build on existing social protection programmes. Nupur continued by detailing the opportunities for shadow alignment, which would occur in two contexts: either where the social assistance system is weak or evolving with insufficient coverage; or where a social protection system does not exist. The role in this case, would be for humanitarian actors to lead in the design and implementation. For refocusing, Nupur explained, the role is of support.

In all contexts, Nupur emphasized, the main purpose for humanitarian actors’ engagement with social protection should be to “save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain dignity during and in the aftermath of the crisis”. However this is not without challenges. Major challenges include lack of political will or buy-in from government, incompatibility of programme design, coordination with multiple stakeholders, lack of government capacity, and mismatch of principles, among many others. Despite these challenges, Nupur concluded her presentation by giving examples of successful cases such as the horizontal expansion of the hunger safety net programme in Kenya in 2015.

The final presentation of the webinar was given by Paula, and outlined CaLP’s current campaign. Using the influence of the World Humanitarian Summit discussion, CaLP has launched an initiative called 100 Days of Cash, with the aim of bringing stakeholders together to facilitate innovative discussion about cash transfer programming. The initiative, Paula explained, is strongly focused on bottom-up collaboration and the power of a network. This campaign has led to the ongoing formulation of the Agenda for Cash document, which is created by more than 40 organizations, directly involving the implementors of programmes, and to be presented at the WHS. Localization and preparedness are special emphases of CaLP’s initiative, which hopes to encourage stakeholders to make commitments to forge partnerships allowing for successful cash transfer programmes.

Following the presentations, Paula then led a question and answer session. The speakers responded to questions submitted from the audience concerning coordination in fragile contexts, tools available for governments, and cases of expansion to include refugees and migrants. For responses to questions submitted and for more information on the webinar series, join the Social Protection in humanitarian, fragile and risk-prone contexts Online Community. 

This blog post is part of the Shock-responsive Social Protection Series, which brings together the summaries of webinars organised by OPM on the topic. Please join the Social protection in crisis contexts online community if you are interested in following the most recent discussions on the topic. If you have any thoughts on this webinar summary, we would love to hear from you. Please add your comments below!

Social Protection Programmes: 
  • Social assistance
    • Social transfers
      • Cash transfers
Social Protection Building Blocks: 
  • Programme design
  • Programme implementation
    • Benefits payment / delivery
Social Protection Approaches: 
  • Social protection definitions and features
  • Social protection systems
Cross-Cutting Areas: 
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Global
  • Global
The views presented here are the author's and not socialprotection.org's


Good to read.