Targeting social assistance in situations of protracted conflict, protracted displacement or recurrent climatic shocks, so that it reaches those who need it most quickly, efficiently and without causing additional damage, has always been one of the the most complex technical and political challenges for development and humanitarian aid. programs.
Trade-offs involving costs beyond economics – such as exclusion risks and protection concerns – raise questions about who to target, how to target, and whether to target (i.e. through universal coverage or lotteries) would lead to better impacts in some contexts where state delivery systems are often damaged or non-existent. The multiplicity of actors involved in providing social assistance in crisis situations, with their own cultures and targeting mandates, can result in uneven and limited uncoordinated assistance, often neglecting equity concerns.
Drawing on a range of literature, in this article we examine key considerations and dilemmas for targeting social assistance in protracted crises, including shock contexts, targeting methods, exclusion and protection risks. , policies of national and international actors and technologies. Our aim is to draw lessons to better inform the targeting of future social assistance programs through the humanitarian-development nexus.
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