In Iraq, state social protection programmes are a critical component of household income. For the last seven years, communities have also benefited from ongoing humanitarian cash-based support to meet emergency needs. As the humanitarian response to the ISIL crisis winds down, several initiatives for linking humanitarian and social protection systems have been initiated, but none have been sustained or gained sufficient buy in from all stakeholders. The Covid-19 crisis has added a layer of urgency in finding a solution to poverty-focused cash-based social protection initiatives in Iraq.

Meraki Labs supported humanitarian, development, and government actors in understanding the extent to which humanitarian cash assistance and government-led social protection programmes overlap in Iraq, to determine a way forward to support vulnerable households in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, while considering the importance of ongoing recovery from conflict.