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Grand Bargain Workshop: Linking Humanitarian Cash and Social Protection

2019 — By Rebecca Holmes

Over the past decade, the use of cash transfers in humanitarian crises has increased. Moreover, humanitarian interventions now increasingly move beyond immediate crisis response and link to recovery and development initiatives – such as social protection – as part of the humanitarian-development nexus.
Linking humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA) with social protection, however, is often interpreted and implemented in different ways by both humanitarian and social protection actors, highlighting the need to learn from the diversity of practices as well as develop a common understanding of the issue between stakeholders working in the two sectors.
In April 2019, a 1.5-day workshop was organised in Geneva under the auspices of the Grand Bargain cash workstream, to discuss the linkages between humanitarian cash and social protection. It was the first of its kind, bringing together experts from both humanitarian and social protection sectors to discuss these issues. This report documents the key discussions and outcomes from the workshop.

The key objectives of the workshop were to:

• share knowledge, practices and ideas on the different ways humanitarian CVA can be linked to
social protection in practice;
• initiate the process of building a common understanding between humanitarian CVA and social protection specialists of what it means to link humanitarian CVA with social protection cash transfers; and
• identify the challenges and opportunities on practical ways to facilitate linkages through the exchange of ideas.

The workshop achieved the following outcomes:

• Established initial discussions between humanitarian and social protection actors on why it is important to link humanitarian CVA and social protection, and started a dialogue on what these linkages mean in practice;
• Commenced the development of a preliminary glossary to provide a shared understanding of key terms and definitions used across the two sectors;
• Identified the key challenges to linking humanitarian CVA and social protection, and discussed the opportunities to develop or strengthen practical linkages; and
• Initiated a draft workplan for the Grand Bargain cash workstream sub-group, which includes short-term quick wins and longer-term activities. Key proposals include consolidating the existing evidence base, furthering the dialogue which has been started in this event, and actively promoting knowledge sharing and learning across the two sectors.