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Regional Learning Event: “Links between emergency cash transfer programming and social safety nets in the Sahel.” – Final report

2014 — By Cécile Cherrier, Yoann Tuzzolino

Cash transfers are nowadays widely used in response to the food and nutrition crises that affect the Sahel. Since the crisis of 2012, many stakeholders (including governments, United Nations agencies, international or local non-governmental organisations) have made use of them – at scale, in some cases. Aside from emergency situations, cash transfers are increasingly being considered by governments and sponsors in national poverty reduction plans, often as part of national strategies and social protection policies. It seems the right time to consider the possibility of improving links between emergency cash transfer programmes and national social (cash) transfer programmes, with a view to strengthening the resilience of the Sahel’s populations. It is within this framework that the CALP Network1, UNICEF and the European Commission, with financial support from OFDA2, came together to organise a regional Learning Event on the subject. Echoing a recent case study commissioned by the CALP Network on the possibility of using national social transfer programmes to respond to humanitarian crisis, the workshop’s key question was as follows:

To what extent is it possible and desirable to use national social transfer programmes in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of the Sahel?

The primary objectives of this initiative were twofold, namely:

1. to allow various regional actors involved in crisis response to share expectations, viewpoints and perceived challenges of using national social transfer programmes in responding to humanitarian crises, and;

2. to lay the foundation for the development of a regional research and action programme aiming to strengthen links between social protection systems and humanitarian response in the Sahel.

The present report intends to represent as accurately as possible participants’ opinions. The programme of the learning event, the list of participants and the evaluation of the event are included in the annex.

A discussion paper produced following the learning event available here.