Social protection in the context of forced displacement: how can programming better promote young people’s resilience in general and during the Covid-19 pandemic?


Dr. Nicola Jones, Overseas Development Institute

The important role of social protection programming (especially cash/in-kind transfers and cash or food for work) in responding to humanitarian crises has been gaining increasing recognition, and most recently not least because of the compounding effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The role of social protection in addressing gender- and lifecycle-specific risks and vulnerabilities has similarly gained traction. However, there has been limited discussion on how responsive such programming is to young people’s multi-dimensional vulnerabilities in humanitarian contexts – despite the fact that adolescents and youth are disproportionately affected by humanitarian crises. This seminar will reflect on this important nexus, drawing in particular on research carried out in Jordan in camps and host communities annually between 2017 and 2020 (including after the onset of the pandemic) and using a gender and adolescence lens. It considers how far adolescents and their gendered vulnerabilities have been included in programme design, as well as monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It will conclude by outlining implications for programming and policy, with suggestions on how programming can be strengthened to realise the rights and capabilities of adolescent girls and boys, and to advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including poverty eradication (SDG 1), health and wellbeing (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5) and reducing inequality (SDG 10).

The seminar will draw together research reflected in the following papers but also more recent research undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic:

Jones, N. (2020) Social protection in humanitarian contexts: how can programming respond to adolescent- and gender-specific vulnerabilities and promote young people’s resilience?

Jones, N. and Presler-Marshall, E. (2019) Achieving social protection for all adolescents: how can a gender norms lens support more effective programming? London: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence.

‘Interrogating the potential of a “cash plus” approach to tackle multidimensional vulnerability in humanitarian contexts: the case of Syrian refugees in Jordan’ in Jawad, R., Jones, N., Messkoub, M. (eds.) Social Policy in the Middle East and North Africa: The New Social Protection Paradigm and Universal Coverage. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 

Jones, N., Guglielmi, G., Ma?achowska, A., Abu Hamad, B., Yadete, W. with Abu Hamad, S., Abu Hamra, E., Alam, F.,  Alheiwidi, S., Alabbadi, T., Al-Redaisy, N., Amaireh, W., Amdeselassie, T., Banioweda, K., Diab, R., Gebeyehu, Y., Gezahegne, K., Iyasu, A., Qandeel, A., Sultan, M., Tilahun, K. and Workneh, F. (2021) ‘Some got married, others don’t want to attend school as they are involved in income-generation’: Adolescent experiences following covid-19 lockdowns in low- and middle-income countries. Report. London: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence



About the speaker

Nicola Jones is a Principal Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in the UK. She is the Director of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal research programme. Her research focuses on the experiences of young people in developmental and humanitarian contexts, and the ways in which policies and programmes can strengthen their capabilities and wellbeing. She is the co-editor of ‘Empowering adolescents in developing countries: gender justice and social norm change’ (Routledge: London, 2018),  Social Policy in the MENA Region: The New Social Protection Paradigm and Universal Coverage (Edward Elgar: London, 2019) and a forthcoming book entitled Adolescents in humanitarian crises: Displacement, Gender and Social inequalities (Routledge, 2021).



Venue: via Zoom (please contact us at seminars@merit.unu.edu for the Zoom link)

Date: 06 May 2021

Time: 12:00 - 13:00


UNU-MERIT