Convergence in the Sahel: How to Link Humanitarian Cash Assistance and National Social Protection Systems?

Convergence is the merging or coming together of separate elements. In the realm of social protection, this translates into the effective coordination and alignment of different humanitarian and development initiatives toward a shared national vision. Convergence between humanitarian operations and national social protection systems has gained momentum in the last few years, as reflected in the humanitarian-development nexus. In the Sahel, a growing overlap between humanitarian activities and government interventions is emerging, particularly with the advent of adaptive social protection. Humanitarian assistance tends to operate in emergencies and volatile contexts with short-term horizons. In contrast, national social protection systems, including regular social safety nets, typically are longer term, more predictable, and focus on issues such as structural poverty rather than emergencies. However, both types of interventions share a broad goal to protect the poorest and most vulnerable and to promote their resilience to future shocks. Hence opportunities to better connect humanitarian assistance to the national social protection system do exist, particularly in the context of protracted crises.