The beauty of concise illustrations! Centering on MENA but providing a global set of examples, a fantastic guidance note by Hammad helps navigate key issues on a range of transfer-related choices. These include how to set transfer values, timing, duration and frequency (with practices from Kenya and Lebanon); combining multiple benefit types (Egypt, Syria and Yemen); adopting digital payment modalities (Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Guatemala, India, Jordan, Mexico, Tunisia, and West Africa); and adapting manual benefit delivery and engage local actors in the process (Costa Rica, Iraq, and Morocco). Thematic and country illustrations are presented in a handy matrix articulated by “what”, “why”, “challenges” and “recommendations” (h/t Zehra Rizvi).

But what do we know about scaling up existing cash transfers during crises? A review by Slater offers a sobering answer: based on international literature and three case studies from East Africa, Nepal and Syria, she concludes that there is “… very limited direct treatment of the question of if and how delivery of existing social protection programmes is sustained in crisis situations”. Also, the literature “… pays only lip service to political drivers and incentives that enable (or disable) continuous and ongoing delivery of programmes”. Bonus on East Africa: Alam et al conducted a feasibility study on humanitarian cash assistance in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Afar regions.

Since I mentioned Africa, “… the Novissi platform was fully developed in-house, and the system was up and running in a mere 10 days. It is a 100 percent digital cash transfer program with no face-to-face contact from registration to assessment of eligibility and cash payment” – check out Togo Minister Cina Lawson’s full interview with the IMF.

Back to crises: the OCED issued a report capturing the nature of the Ukraine refugee crisis as well as policy response in 39 countries. The latter covers information on entry/stay conditions for Ukrainian nationals as well as measures in relation to housing, income, access to social services and integration. Bonus on emergencies: a new report by UNICEF and the World Bank examines data from high frequency phone surveys in 35 countries and finds that at least 68% of households with children have lost income since the COVID-19 pandemic. Households with three or more children were most likely to have lost income, with more than three-quarters experiencing a reduction in earnings.

More on displacement, but in LAC where 5.4 million Venezuelans currently fled the country. A new paper by Palomo et al (in Spanish) examines responses to the migrant crisis in several countries in the region, including discussion on, among others, social registries (e.g., Venezuelan families are being included in the Brazilian and Chilean registries); eligibility to cash transfers; and access to school feeding programmes (except for Trinidad and Tobago, all countries allow migrant children to participate). See also the paper’s one-page summary by Sato.

Let’s stay in LAC: Casco tackles a longstanding question on cash transfers, gender, and intrahousehold allocation! His new paper from Ecuador finds that (i) transfers increase the women’s control of resources; (ii) such increase augments household welfare (by reducing poverty, especially for women and children); and (iii) mothers’ control of resources affects patterns of consumption of the household and how it responds to shocks. In quantitative terms, “… the mean distribution of women’s resource control in beneficiary households is 11% higher in relation to non-beneficiary households”.

What’s coming up next week? As part of the HNPW, CaLP will host a seminar on cash transfers, humanitarian assistance and social protection (May 17, 8:30am EST), while WFP, USAID, World Bank and OCHA are hosting an event on Opportunities and Challenges of Generating Evidence on Anticipatory Action (May 17, 3pm CET). And three days later, another webinar addresses minimum expenditure basket for cash transfers in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Ugo Gentilini is from the World Bank’s Social Protection & Jobs global practice. The Social Protection Links newsletter, issued every Friday, distills and discusses a selection of curated resources on the topic, from academic articles to podcasts. The blog is republished on each week, offering knowledge on social protection to help you stay on top of it — succinctly, regularly and frequently. Previous editions can be found here. 

To sign up to the newsletter or share materials, you can contact Ugo by email ([email protected]), Twitter (@ugentilini) or LinkedIn.

Social Protection Programmes: 
  • Social assistance
    • Social transfers
      • Cash transfers
        • Cash plus
      • In kind transfers
        • School feeding programmes
  • Labour market / employment programmes
    • Active labour market programmes / Productive inclusion
      • Productive / economic inclusion programmes
Social Protection Building Blocks: 
  • Policy
    • Expenditure and financing
    • Governance and coordination
  • Programme design
    • Eligibility criteria
  • Programme implementation
    • Benefits payment / delivery
    • Enrolment / registration
  • Programme performance / impact analysis
Social Protection Approaches: 
  • Social protection systems
Cross-Cutting Areas: 
  • Consumption and expenditure
  • Environment
  • Migration
  • Poverty reduction
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Morocco
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Venezuela
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Nepal
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Ukraine
  • Latin America & Caribbean
  • Middle East & North Africa
The views presented here are the author's and not's