Policy expertise

Shock-responsive social protection systems

Policy Area
Department for International Development (DFID)
OPM contact

This DFID-funded study on Shock-Responsive Social Protection Systems strengthens the evidence base as to when and how social protection systems can better scale up in response to shocks in low-income countries and fragile and conflict-affected states, thus reducing the need for separate humanitarian responses. The key research question is: 'What are the constraints to social protection systems being more responsive to shocks, and, conversely, what factors would enable social protection systems to become more responsive to shocks?'

The study, which ran from 2015-2018, was led by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) in consortium with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) and INASP.

The project Synthesis Report is available for download here, with key findings discussed in a policy brief here and a webinar here. The accompanying Toolkit on “Appraising the use of social protection in addressing large-scale shocks” is available here . A wide variety of other useful outputs are also available:

• an in-depth (desk-based) literature review  (updated to 2017) of country experiences in this field, also available in French;
• a working documenton shock-responsive social protection in Mali (in French), followed by a full case study (French version here) and policy brief
• a case study and policy brief on shock responsive social protection in Pakistan;
• a case study and policy brief on shock responsive social protection in the Philippines;
• a case study and policy brief on shock responsive social protection in Mozambique (Portuguese version here);
• a case study and policy brief  on shock responsive social protection in Lesotho;
• a regional case study and policy brief  on shock responsive social protection in the Sahel (French version here). This was preceded by an overview of community-level practices and perceptions of social protection in the region; and,
• a briefing note on the factors affecting the usefulness of existing social protection databases in disaster preparedness and response.

These are also shared and discussed within the Socialprotection.org online community on 'social protection in crisis contexts', which you are welcome to join. Preliminary evidence from Kenya and Mozambique and subsequently from Pakistan and the Philippines were presented as webinars, while a short animated video summarises key insights from the project.

To sign up to our quarterly newsletter or for any questions or contributions, please contact our Project Manager Valentina Barca. Also, use the hashtags #ShockResponsive #SocialProtection or #shockresponsiveSP to contribute to our discussion on Twitter – or follow @Valentina_OPM.

This project was awarded through DFID's Humanitarian Innovation and Evidence Programme (HIEP), a high-profile programme of 20 research projects intended to improve the quality, quantity and use of evidence in humanitarian programming.


Senior Consultant
Leader, Social Development
Assistant Consultant
Senior Consultant
Infographic: Bridging the gap between international development and humanitarianism