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Social protection responses to forced displacement

The increase in the total number of forcibly displaced people in the past decade and increasing duration of displacement has stretched the capacity of the humanitarian system to its limits and placed a heavy strain on the communities hosting displaced populations. Low- and middle-income countries host 85% of refugees and almost 100% of internally displaced people.

This has given rise to various initiatives to promote more sustainable and development-orientated solutions, which aim to adequately meet the needs of both displaced populations and their host communities. There is growing interest in the potential for humanitarian assistance to link with national social protection systems – the focus of this project.

The overall aim of this project is to better understand effective mechanisms for the integration of social protection programmes and humanitarian assistance. By providing clearer guidance about when, how and why different forms of integration might be considered, the project will develop the theory, evidence base and operational guidance on how social protection systems and humanitarian systems can work together to meet the needs of those affected by displacement crises, including not only the displaced but vulnerable households in their host communities as well. The research also aims to better understand whether and how a system that works together in this way can improve social cohesion between these groups.

Throughout the research we are guided by the need to provide practical programming and policy guidance to both national actors involved in social protection programming and international actors involved in humanitarian and development programming in situations of displacement.

The research will be grounded in three country contexts with a total of six study sites that present different contexts of displacement and humanitarian response: Greece (Athens and Ioannina), Colombia (Bogotá/Cúcuta) and Cameroon (Far North/East). These sites were selected to represent a spectrum/range of:

  • Displacement contexts, covering both refugee as well as mixed refugee and IDP settings
  • Camp and non-camp settings
  • Rural and urban settings
  • Countries with a range of income and human development levels
  • Highly, moderately and less developed social protection systems.

ODI will work in close partnerships with local research teams in our three study countries:

  1. Centre for Applied Social Sciences Research and Training (CASS-RT) in Cameroon
  2. The School of Government at the University of Los Andes in Colombia
  3. National Centre for Social Research (‘EKKE’) in Greece

Latest content

Colombia social protection

Social protection responses to forced displacement in Colombia

Recent years have seen growing interest in the use of national social protection systems as a crisis response mechanism in forced displacement contexts. But there has been little research to date on linking assistance for displaced populations with government social protection, and on the impacts of differing forms of alignment or integration of humanitarian and social protection systems.
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Cameroon cover page image.jpg

Integrating assistance to the displaced into a social protection system in Cameroon. An ideal, but in whose interests?

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They walked in the night to find a light. Nightwalkers, by Zeinab.

Humanitarian assistance and social protection responses to the forcibly displaced in Greece

This report presents primary findings on social protection and humanitarian assistance for displaced populations in Greece.
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Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers move boxes with winter clothes for children to a schoolyard where approximately 30 displaced families live. Photo: KRZYSIEK, Pawel/ICRC

Humanitarian assistance and social protection in contexts of forced displacement: effects on social cohesion

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Linking social protection
and humanitarian assistance
A toolkit to support social cohesion
in displacement settings

Linking social protection and humanitarian assistance. A toolkit to support social cohesion in displacement settings

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Podcast: Emerging Research on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Displacement

Emerging lessons for scaling up social protection coverage in FCV contexts, drawing upon the combined research of the World Bank and ODI, the OECD and UNHCR.

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