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Social Protection in Humanitarian Settings

Humanitarian challenges of protracted fragility and conflict-related crises, and the more recent unprecedented migration and refugee movement around the globe underscore the need to break down the barriers between humanitarian and development work. Acute and extended crises such as in Syria have contributed to migration flows, which also highlight the need for long-term solutions in countries of destination.

Social protection is increasingly considered as a policy response in contexts of fragility and displacement. In non-fragile contexts, extensive evidence demonstrates that social protection helps reduce poverty and inequality. While establishing effective social protection in the context of protracted instability and displaced populations is more complex, it is also increasingly viewed as an essential mechanism to bridge the humanitarian-developmental divide. However, despite the increasing use of social protection in these settings, comparatively little is known from rigorous research regarding what works, and why.

In response to the Syrian crises, which led a large number of Syrian refugees to Lebanon, UNICEF, in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme and in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanona, initiated a child-focused cash transfer program for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon in the 2016-2017 school year. The program, known as the “No Lost Generation” or “Min Ila” (“from/to” in Arabic), was designed to reduce financial and other obstacles to children’s school attendance, including reliance on child labor, to minimize the impact of negative coping strategies on children. 

A recently produced final technical report, “Min Ila” Cash Transfer Programme for Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon, now provides an evaluation of the Min Ila project’s effect on improving children’s health and nutrition; on lowering child engagement in household work; on improving children’s subjective well-being; and on increasing child school attendance. The report documents important positive gains on key indicators among Syrian children living in Lebanon, and was jointly prepared by UNICEF Innocenti and the American Institutes for Research.

 

Social Protection in Humanitarian Settings

Humanitarian challenges of protracted fragility and conflict-related crises, and the more recent unprecedented migration and refugee movement around the globe underscore the need to break down the barriers between humanitarian and development work. Acute and extended crises such as in Syria have contributed to migration flows, which also highlight the need for long-term solutions in countries of destination.

Social protection is increasingly considered as a policy response in contexts of fragility and displacement. In non-fragile contexts, extensive evidence demonstrates that social protection helps reduce poverty and inequality. While establishing effective social protection in the context of protracted instability and displaced populations is more complex, it is also increasingly viewed as an essential mechanism to bridge the humanitarian-developmental divide. However, despite the increasing use of social protection in these settings, comparatively little is known from rigorous research regarding what works, and why.

In response to the Syrian crises, which led a large number of Syrian refugees to Lebanon, UNICEF, in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme and in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanona, initiated a child-focused cash transfer program for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon in the 2016-2017 school year. The program, known as the “No Lost Generation” or “Min Ila” (“from/to” in Arabic), was designed to reduce financial and other obstacles to children’s school attendance, including reliance on child labor, to minimize the impact of negative coping strategies on children. 

A recently produced final technical report, “Min Ila” Cash Transfer Programme for Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon, now provides an evaluation of the Min Ila project’s effect on improving children’s health and nutrition; on lowering child engagement in household work; on improving children’s subjective well-being; and on increasing child school attendance. The report documents important positive gains on key indicators among Syrian children living in Lebanon, and was jointly prepared by UNICEF Innocenti and the American Institutes for Research.

 

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In the 2016–17 school year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) in Lebanon, started to pilot a child-focused cash transfer programme for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon. The programme, known as the No Lost Generation (NLG) or “Min Ila” (meaning “from/to”) was designed to reduce negative coping strategies harmful to children and reduce barriers to children’s school attendance, including financial barriers and reliance on child labour. UNICEF Lebanon contracted the American Institute for Research (AIR) to help UNICEF Office of Research (OoR) design and implement an impact evaluation of the programme. The purpose of the impact evaluation, one of the first rigorous studies of a social protection programme supporting children in a complex displacement setting, is to monitor the programme’s effects on recipients and provide evidence to UNICEF, WFP, and MEHE for decisions regarding the programme’s future. This report investigates and discusses the programme’s impacts on child well-being outcomes, including food security, health, child work, child subjective well-being, enrollment, and attendance, after 1 year of programme implementation.

AUTHOR(S)

Jacobus De Hoop; Mitchell Morey; Hannah Ring; Victoria Rothbard; David Seidenfeld

This paper documents the impact of a cash transfer programme – an initiative of the Government of Lebanon, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), widely known as the No Lost Generation Programme (NLG) and, locally, as Min Ila (‘from to’) – on the school participation of displaced Syrian children in Lebanon. The programme provides cash to children who are enrolled in the afternoon shift of a public primary school. It was designed to cover the cost of commuting to school and to compensate households for income forgone if children attend school instead of working, two critical barriers to child school participation. We rely on a geographical regression discontinuity design comparing children living in two pilot governorates with children in two neighbouring governorates to identify the impact of the programme halfway in the first year of operation (the 2016/17 school year). We find limited programme effects on school enrolment, but substantive impacts on school attendance among enrolled children, which increased by 0.5 days to 0.7 days per week, an improvement of about 20 per cent over the control group. School enrolment among Syrian children rose rapidly across all of Lebanon’s governorates during the period of the evaluation, resulting in supply side capacity constraints that appear to have dampened positive impacts on enrolment.

AUTHOR(S)

Jacobus De Hoop; Mitchell Morey; David Seidenfeld

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Jacobus De Hoop


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