Skip to content
We are sorry but the page you are looking for is not available in the language you have selected, please go to the corresponding homepage
  1. Home
Ongoing research

Lessons learned and key enablers in CVA preparedness to respond to shocks in Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic

Anticipated end date: 30 June 2021

Contact: José Jódar


Much of the CALP Network’s guidance and learning has emerged from protracted crises, which account for the vast majority of international humanitarian funding. However, climate change has increased the severity and intensity of disasters. The Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region is particularly vulnerable to a range of disasters related to both sudden and recurrent climate shocks (tropical storms and hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions droughts, flooding etc.), that are affecting 152 million people in over 1,200 disasters between 2000-2019, making it the second most disaster-prone region globally.4 Those climatic shocks are added to a number of shocks related to migration, conflict and violence as well as outbreaks. Although CVA programmes were first conceived and scaled up in Latin America during the 1990s in the form of conditional cash transfers, humanitarian CVA seems to be under-utilized; in part, one of the main challenges appears to be the lack of CVA preparedness. While there have been positive lessons of adapting social protection programmes in disaster response, such as in Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and response to COVID19, there is limited documented learning of best practices in comprehensive CVA preparedness – by strengthening both government social protection systems and contingency planning among humanitarian actors.

On government responses, the CALP Network has been engaged in strengthening the linkages between the social protection (SP) and humanitarian CVA sphere for a number of years. A recent the CALP Network report on ‘Linking Social Protection and Humanitarian Cash and Voucher Assistance’ highlighted a knowledge gap on linkages between CVA and social protection. Informants consulted during the research phase of the report were keen to shift the discussion from from whether preparedness linked CVA to social protection, to whether CVA was included in preparedness planning. This was because informants believed that most stakeholders lacked clarity concerning the degree to which CVA is being integrated and referenced in national preparedness, contingency or humanitarian plans and policies. Uncertainty regarding existing articulation between these potentially critical mechanisms also reduces the scope to increase the development of such linkages through better policy, programming, capacity building or funding.

For this reason, the CALP Network is commissioning the development of a desk review of the policy and practice landscape in Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic (as part of the CEPREDENAC coverage). This will be developed from the perspective of preparedness, to support operational actors to map existing efforts and identify how CVA linkages are being made in humanitarian preparedness and in social protection planning processes. The desk review will inform the identification of case studies documenting best practices, barriers and enablers, as well as operational recommendations to strengthen CVA preparedness. The case studies will focus on two country contexts. This review should contribute to a better understanding of how CVA preparedness can contribute to more effective disaster response.


Main objective

To support relevant response stakeholders in understanding how both humanitarian CVA and social protection preparedness can contribute to more effective and efficient disaster response in Central America, Mexico and Dominican Republic, particularly Cash Working Groups, disaster management agencies and relevant ministries.

Specific objectives

i. To map existing humanitarian, development and government-led preparedness interventions utilizing CVA or making use of existing social protection systems.

ii. To identify priority actions to strengthen CVA preparedness through social protection measures and/or humanitarian interventions


Regional inter-governmental and disaster management agencies e.g. CEPREDENAC, SICA, CDEMA, National level government bodies responsible for preparedness and humanitarian response; UN agencies; international finance institutions, such as the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank but not limited to; national and international

NGOs; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; think tanks/research institutes/researchers, e.g. OPM, CEPAL, FLACSO, etc.


Desk review

  1. Where and how have preparedness planning policies or programmes included CVA and/or social protection systems as a response to disasters?
    • Are there national contingency plans between governments and international humanitarian actors that take CVA into consideration?
    • Where CVA is a response by governments or agencies, do existing preparedness planning policies or programmes intentionally link humanitarian systems delivering CVA to social protection systems or making use of social protection systems?
    • What are the main outputs and outcomes of the mapped initiatives? What are the barriers and enablers to effective CVA preparedness?

Case studies

i. When CVA is included in preparedness and social protection policies and planning, how has it been implemented? Are CVA policies, programmes and plans effective at the response level? a. What are the different features/key topics that need to be considered for effective CVA preparedness (e.g., funding, capacity strengthening, coordination, data management, risks analysis, nexus/resilience approaches, etc.)

ii. What tools and guidance have been effective in supporting CVA preparedness?

iii. What financing instruments, including anticipatory funding, have supported CVA preparedness?

iv. What are the barriers and enablers to effective CVA preparedness?

v. What opportunities exist to strengthen CVA preparedness? a. How can the CALP Network and other key stakeholders add value to these efforts?


  • Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic


This study will include both desk review of existing documentation and primary qualitative data collection through Key informant interviews. Continuous engagement with both the CALP Network key staff and the research steering committee will be required.

  • Engage periodically with the Steering Committee formed of network members and CALP staff to discuss research orientations, progression, key findings and related decision making.
  • Desk review based on the documentation available (report, publications, studies, etc.)
  • Key informant interviews and/or focus group discussions, as appropriate, to both complement existing documentation in the mapping exercise and deepen in the case studies.
  • Development of up to two short case studies (5-7 pages).