Conceptualising Shock-Responsive Social Protection

This is the first in a series of papers from the ongoing research. Together, the set of papers will develop theoretical perspectives about the interface between social protection, humanitarian assistance and disaster risk management (DRM), review the latest literature and generate insights from new case studies across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

We present in this paper our latest thinking on the concept of 'shock-responsive social protection', and explain how this shapes the direction of our research. We start with an overview of our understanding of shocks in the context of this study. We offer new typologies of the maturity of social protection systems and the different ways in which a social protection system, designed primarily to support households in chronic difficulty, might be able to be used in the event of a humanitarian disaster. We consider how social protection, humanitarian and DRM systems are connected, and the challenges there might be in linking them. We also consider the implications of the context of fragility and conflict for shock-responsive social protection. Our next working paper will offer a synthesis of the evidence from a comprehensive review of literature. Future papers will attempt to offer new insights using evidence from the case studies. 

For more information on the project and the other case studies, visit our website: The research is funded by UK Aid from the UK Government, as part of the UK Department for International Development's (DFID's) Humanitarian Innovation and Evidence Programme (HIEP). HIEP is an initiative to improve the quality, quantity and use of evidence in humanitarian programming.