BASIC Research Theme Brief

Capacity and Coordination Challenges for Social Assistance in Crisis Situations

Published on 4 February 2022

The terms ‘capacity’ and ‘coordination’ feature consistently in literature on humanitarian cash transfers and social protection. Multiple international agency projects and initiatives seek to build or strengthen both. Yet, while ‘capacity’ and ‘coordination’ are commonly used and are frequently identified as deficits that hinder improved programming in crisis situations, there is relatively little understanding of what levels of capacity and coordination exist in fragile settings and of how the dimensions of both might vary in crises compared to more stable and secure situations.

Across the social protection and humanitarian sectors, frameworks for assessing and addressing capacity and coordination are fledgling at best, with little guidance available to those trying to improve capacity and coordination. (Guidance for cash working groups is an exception to this.) A better understanding of the evidence on capacity and coordination of social assistance during crises and of the main knowledge gaps is key to identifying solutions to overcome capacity and coordination deficits – solutions that are fit-for-purpose in situations of protracted crisis.

Cite this publication

Slater, R.; Baur, D. and Haruna, E. (2022) Capacity and Coordination Challenges For Social Assistance in Crisis Situations, BASIC Research Theme Brief, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/BASIC.2022.030


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Institute of Development Studies


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