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Basic needs and wellbeing in displacement settings: the role of humanitarian assistance and social protection

Working papers

Written by Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Marcela Rubio, Christy Lowe, Caterina Mazzilli

Hero image description: World Water Day 2014 Image credit:Eva Ludi Image license:Creative Commons

The increasing and sustained presence of displaced people in host communities worldwide requires new approaches to assistance. One potential approach is to link humanitarian assistance with national social protection systems. Yet the implications of linking these in different ways – including for meeting people’s basic needs and wellbeing in displacement settings – are far from clear.

In this paper, we thus explore two key questions:

How does assistance provision affect basic needs and wellbeing outcomes in displacement settings?

How might these effects differ when international humanitarian assistance is linked more closely and in different ways with state social protection?

This paper combines findings from mixed-methods primary research conducted in 2020–2021 in six sites across Cameroon, Colombia and Greece.

This paper is accompanied by a toolkit to help policymakers and practitioners to apply the research findings in their displacement setting, this toolkit is available here.

This output is part of a larger two-year research project studying approaches to assisting affected populations in contexts of forced displacement. For more information and other project outputs, see here.