Course category: 
Self-paced course
European Commission

Social Protection across the Humanitarian-Development Nexus. A Game Changer in Supporting People Through Crises

Social protection is a policy instrument with robust, flexible and widely available delivery mechanisms.  As such, it holds significant potential to transform short-term humanitarian interventions into development processes to achieve resilience, peace, stabilisation and economic growth in countries in crises. 

In order to provide concrete and practical guidance to social protection to bridge the humanitarian and development interventions through effective short- and long-term response to multivariate shocks, protracted crises and displacement, the European Commission (EC) created the Guidance Package (GP) on Social Protection across the Humanitarian-Development Nexus (SPaN). The SPaN GP is based on the current body of knowledge, including brief definitions, and processes of social protection approaches in most challenging settings. The variety of contexts covered by the GP also includes countries where social protection systems are nationally led and those without any structures in place.

Designed to provide insights and strategies for humanitarian and development staff, this e-learning course introduces and reflects knowledge from the GP´s materials.  A link to the course is provided, among other channels, by two online communities related to the SPaN initiative on and They also provide further reading and serve as forums for discussions to build practitioner’s knowledge on this evolving subject.


​Learning Objectives:

This course

  • presents main objectives, principles and core instruments of social protection;
  • discusses similarities and differences between social protection as government task in development setting and as part of humanitarian action;
  • introduces the important features of social protection systems and approaches in crisis contexts that reflect currently promising practices;
  • presents a working typology for understanding what working with social protection to respond to a crisis might look like;
  • provides an overview of how different social protection instruments can and have been used in crisis contexts;
  • outlines impacts of social protection programmes and approaches across a range of outcomes.


  • Module 1 Social Protection and Humanitarian Action
  • Module 2 Why Work With Social Protection in Crisis Contexts?
  • Module 3 Approaches and benefit modalities
  • Module 4 Targeting
  • Module 5 Engaging stakeholders and meeting the needs of vulnerable groups


4 hours