Shock-Responsive Social Protection for Displaced Persons in the IGAD Region: Lessons from COVID -19 Compounding Risks

Large-scale disasters and shocks are becoming increasingly frequent, protracted and complex. Social protection system is a potentially effective mechanism in reducing the impacts of these risks on vulnerable households and to build their resilience. The need for social protection for migrants during crisis came into sharp focus during the COVID - 19 pandemic.   The study used in-depth desk review from secondary sources complemented with key informant interviews from four countries - Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia.  The findings show that IGAD Member States with less - developed social protection systems such as Somalia were poorly prepared and struggled to launch rapid and effective social protection responses to COVID - triggered hardship to cover migrants. Unlike non-migrants who were registered as additional beneficiaries on national cash transfer programmes, many migrants lacked similar social protection in the duration of lockdown. In view of complex future shocks in the context of a changing climate, states are strongly encouraged to strengthen their social protection measures to be shock-responsive by reforming their laws, strengthening collaboration, develop data sharing protocols and information management system and linkages to early warning systems to trigger swift transfer of resources in the event of a crisis. This study offers lessons that will inform future inclusive policy responses on social protection for migrants during crises.