Digital-first Approach to Emergency Cash Transfers: STEP-KIN in the Democratic Republic of Congo

This study looks in depth at Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) approach to delivering emergency cash transfers: the Solidarity through Economic Transfers Against the Poverty in Kinshasa (STEP-KIN) program. In order to overcome severe data and operational constraints, this program used a combination of digital tools to deliver assistance to vulnerable urban populations during COVID-19, bypassing traditional processes. This paper aims to answer key and practical operational questions, including how the program was implemented throughout the delivery chain and the timeline of the program, highlighting milestones that were key to the successful rollout of the program. We also focus on the challenges faced and lessons learned, informing other countries looking for alternative ways to deliver social assistance at scale in the context of continuing global risk and uncertainty, while acknowledging the limitations of this approach beyond emergency response.