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


Written by Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Amanda Gray Meral, Stephen Commins, Christy Lowe

Social cohesion is influenced by many factors including a government’s broad policies towards the host and displaced populations, the wider media and public discourse, economic and political climate, and historic relations and socio-economic profiles of the displaced and host populations. The assistance provided by government or international agencies is unlikely ever to be the main factor shaping social cohesion, but it can play a part in attitudes among and interactions between displaced and host communities (i.e. horizontal cohesion), and between those communities and the state (i.e. vertical cohesion).

With this toolkit, we aim to offer guidance for both government and non-governmental actors (i.e. implementing agencies and donors) providing assistance in displacement settings. We root that guidance in evidence gathered across three key country contexts (Cameroon, Colombia and Greece), and we draw conclusions and make recommendations at three levels i) policy; ii) programme design; iii) administration and delivery.

We offer not only general guidance on assistance provision in such contexts but also more specific guidance for those wondering how – or indeed whether – to link humanitarian assistance with social protection systems. In this way, we hope this toolkit will help governments and non-governmental actors to provide assistance in ways that promote social cohesion among host and displaced populations, and between those populations and the state.

This toolkit builds on the findings of a larger thematic paper published earlier on this topic.

These outputs are 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.