Webinar Presentation - Connecting humanitarian cash transfers programming and National Social Protection Programs in Liberia and Sierra Leone: the case of the Ebola response

Since 2016, the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) has been working on the lessons learned from Cash Transfer Programing (CTP) implemented during the recovery phase of the food security crisis that followed the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development/Food for Peace (USAID/FFP).

One product from the project is the forthcoming publication ‘Cash Transfers for Food Security in epidemics: A review of Food For Peace Response to the Ebola crisis (Sierra Leone, Liberia)’. The report documents the CTP approaches used by the USAID/FFP partners and the lessons learned from those experiences.

A compelling aspect of the report is the linkages made between the national social protection programs (NSPPs) and humanitarian Unconditional Cash Transfer Programs (UCT).  Those linkages in an epidemics context are challenging and require solid implication but they could also bring positive impacts in a response. This webinar is an opportunity to have a thorough and frank reflection on a recent humanitarian CTP intervention and the value of its connection to NSPPs. We hope that a wide range of NGOs, donors and other stakeholders will join this discussion to help the community at large agree on best practice moving forward on this.


Ebola was detected in Liberia and Sierra Leone in March and May 2014, respectively. As of spring 2016, 28,616 people had been infected with Ebola, and over 11,310 had died. Both countries experienced spikes in food prices and market disruptions, while bans shut down regular movements and travel. USAID/FFP contributed $101.5m to emergency projects in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nine of those projects included CTP.

Many countries struggle to coordinate and make links between disaster response and long-term social protection; the Ebola response was no different. Before the Ebola outbreak, both Liberia and Sierra Leone’s governments had experienced or established NSPPs, which featured UCTs as their primary means of assistance. And in both countries, UCTs in humanitarian response was very limited before Ebola’s outbreak as well.

Despite these limitations, there were significant links made to the NSPP by humanitarian UCT programs in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive aspects was the coordination between actors that was driven by the national governments. Through the governments’ presence in the Cash Technical Working Groups, NGOs worked to align their strategies with the governments’; and thus, increased the impact and coverage of cash transfer response.

In Liberia, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) coordinated the CTP response. MoGSP said ‘this Ministry is mandated to advise the Government of Liberia on all matters affecting the development and welfare of women and children as well as any other issues referred to it by the Government.' The MoGCSP’s Social Cash Transfer Unit was responsible for implementing CTP under the National Social Protection Program (NSPP).


This webinar presented the case of the linkages made between the NSPP of Liberia and Sierra Leone with humanitarian UCT during the recovery phase of the Ebola response and discussed the value of its connection to NSPPs.