Building on Government Systems for Shock Preparedness and Response: the role of social assistance data and information

In a context of increasing frequency, size and duration of disasters and crises globally, the limitations of standard approaches to humanitarian response have come to the forefront, causing governments and international agencies to pledge to “use existing resources and capabilities better to shrink humanitarian needs over the long term” (Grand Bargain, 2016). The social protection sector can have an important role to play in this process, as recent research on “Shock Responsive Social Protection” has confirmed (O’Brien et al., 2018, Beazley et al. forthcoming).

This research focuses on the specific role of social assistance data and broader information systems and capabilities. In particular, it looks at their potential role in identifying beneficiaries and delivering benefits to them in the aftermath of a shock.

The research presented draws on recent international experiences in using social assistance data systems for shock response. It builds on an earlier briefing note on the “Factors affecting the usefulness of existing social protection databases in disaster preparedness and response” (O’Brien and Barca, 2017), co‑financed by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).