While there are recent international experiences successfully using social assistance data, they are not widespread – and have sometimes encountered challenges. For example, focusing on shock response: Vertical expansions and programmes "piggybacking" on beneficiary data require very little additional efforts (e.g. in terms of adapting processes) and can therefore enable timely responses, if adequately planned in advance. However, they present significant drawbacks in terms of the coverage of affected populations, which need explicit addressing.
In a context of increasing frequency, size and duration of disasters and crises globally, the limitations of standard approaches to humanitarian response have come to the forefront, causing governments and international agencies to pledge to “use existing resources and capabilities better to shrink humanitarian needs over the long term” (Grand Bargain, 2016). The social protection sector can have an important role to play in this process, as recent research on “Shock Responsive Social Protection” has confirmed (O’Brien et al., 2018, Beazley et al. forthcoming).
The evaluation was commissioned by the WFP Turkey Country Office and covers the world's largest humanitarian cash transfer - the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) in Turkey, funded by the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO).
How can social protection systems be used in disasters, as a complement to, or substitute for, humanitarian assistance? Oxford Policy Management led a two-year research project investigating this question, looking at the role of social protection in both mitigating the impact of large-scale shocks and supporting households after a crisis hits. We identify factors that can help and hinder effective disaster response, and consider how social protection actors collaborate with others working in humanitarian assistance and disaster risk management (DRM).