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Social Protection: new programming, new risks

COVID-19 is propelling humanitarian organisations responding in natural disaster and conflict environments into new types of programming with new risks.

Social protection programming has always been an outlier in most humanitarian programmes. It doesn’t fit neatly into the cluster system but neither is it wholly a developmental approach. If discussed at all in humanitarian response, it tends to form part of protection or early recovery work. Sometimes it is part of resilience planning in disaster risk reduction.

However, as both humanitarian and development organisations shift their programming to respond to COVID-19, social protection programming is about to take centre stage. The World Bank announced this week that it intends to deploy $160 billion in social protection programming over the next 15 months to help developing countries respond to COVID-19. Many other donors are redeploying their resources or asking organisations to incorporate social protection in their ongoing programming. 

What is social protection programming

The European Commission (ECHO) defines social protection as:</