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Policy paper

Cash Transfers and Social Protection: From Alignment to Integration

10 July 2020 — By Mercy Corps

As the use of cash transfer programming grows in response to COVID-19, demands on the aid community’s own interventions and capacity to support state-led measures continue to grow in equal measure. Originally envisioned as a means of better coordinating parallel and remarkably similar humanitarian and state-led systems, efforts to explore these linkages to enhance impact and scale are understandably now at the forefront. Where no such local institutions exist, non-governmental aid actors are ready and often best positioned to enhance state capacity and directly deliver social protection services.
A large and growing body of research conceptualizes the goals and value of different models of alignment and integration with state-led social protection systems, but learning that documents “how” linkages have been approached in different contexts is relatively sparse and successful practice sparser still. As part of an ongoing effort to contribute, this briefing paper summarises Mercy Corps’ approach to establishing social protection (SP) linkages, our understanding of their importance, and the conditions necessary for successful practice. To do this, we draw on lessons from work and research conducted in Iraq, Gaza, Kenya and