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Helpdesk Report: K4D - Linking social protection and humanitarian response – best practice

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Iffat Idris GSDRC, University of Birmingham


What are the lessons learned from social protection programmes which aim to bridge humanitarian and development objectives? How were these programmes designed, what were the risks, how were they mitigated and what programme documents and evaluations are available? Focus on alignment of humanitarian assistance with national social protection systems.

1. Summary

This review looks at the alignment of humanitarian response in refugee crises with national social protection systems. It examines the experience of three countries dealing with protracted refugee situations: Turkey, Lebanon and Cameroon, and also identifies lessons from other literature.

The number of people affected by crises and disasters continues to rise, and humanitarian refugee crises are becoming more and more prolonged. This has led to recognition of the need for a different approach to year-on-year humanitarian assistance, and specifically, of the need to bridge the humanitarian-development divide. Social protection offers a way to do this. The European Commission (ECHO, 2018: 2) defines social protection as:

a set of policies and actions that enhance the capacity of all people, but notably poor and vulnerable groups, to escape from poverty (or avoid falling into poverty), and better manage risks and shocks. In crisis or shock situations, social protection interventions are primarily a means to help meeting immediate needs and reducing mortality and human suffering.