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The link with national social protection systems: a recap of our Sahel learning event

On April 19th and 20th, CaLP and the Regional Platform for Social Protection hosted a learning event exploring how humanitarian cash transfer programmes can work to support national social protection systems in the Sahel.

We were joined by a good number of government representatives from the Sahel region and beyond, including Liberia, Niger, Mali, Chad, Senegal and Comoros.

Ibrahima Ahamada, Government of Comoros, discusses how he’ll put learning from the event to use back home

They accompanied humanitarian actors, donors and development partners to look at case studies in Liberia, Mali and Senegal, and collectively draw recommendations.

The event was very well received, and we were pleased to hear participants remarking with enthusiasm that this was the first time such a group of actors have come together to discuss these issues.

Discussions were lively and interesting, ranging from the possibility of taxing extractive industries to channelling Islamic charitable giving to fund social protection, and from what a "household" means in a modern urban context, to how social protection can work in conflict settings.

Gabriel Fernandez from the Government of Liberia reflects on his key takeaways from day one

Recommendations emerging were around:

  • Strategic coordination and accountability: What role can Cash Working Groups play in supporting national social protection systems? How can we be more inclusive, build the capacity of government, and make sure we have the right resources?)
  • Social registries: Can government and humanitarian actors build, work from and adapt common databases of vulnerable households? What are the data protection issues? Can we share common targeting approaches?
  • Financing: Can we explore innovative funding sources, such as Islamic social finance, taxes on luxury items, or solidarity tax? How can we encourage flexible multi-donor funding pools?
  • Technical coordination: To what extent can/ should we harmonize tools, targeting criteria, and transfer values? Can we share M&E systems? How can we plan and prepare for shocks jointly?

The full list of recommendations that emerged from this event can be found here.

To stay updated on this area of work, please follow the Regional Platform for Social Protection West Africa here: http://socialprotection.org/fr/plateforme-regionale-de-la-protection-sociale-en-afrique-de-louest-et-du-centre

Read our case study, 'Meeting food needs in the Sahel through government cash transfers: the experience of Senegal', which builds on the insights from this event. Available in English and French.

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