Save the Children commissioned an historical HEA analysis in Niger to explore whether it is possible to use existing HEA data to contribute to the design of an adaptive and shock responsive social protection programme. The analysis modelled the seasonal consumption/expenditure deficits faced by households living at 4 levels of wealth (very poor, poor, middle and better-off) in 5 livelihood zones over 8 years from the 2012-13 consumption year to the 2019-20 consumption year.

HEA can be used in an historical analysis of seasonal deficits to answer the following basic questions about social protection cash transfer design:

  1. Which livelihood zones would benefit most from a social protection cash transfer programme?
  2. How many people require regular social protection cash transfer assistance?
  3. What level of regular transfer should be provided?
  4. How often will it be necessary to scale the programme up to deal with emergencies?
  5. What level of assistance will be required in emergency seasons (number of beneficiaries, levels of transfer)?

The same type of analysis can also be used to adapt existing social protection cash transfer schemes and gauge whether they are adequate to meet needs in particular years. Because HEA was originally designed as a tool for early warning, information on current year deficits can be provided in time to allow decision makers to trigger early action by scaling up a social protection cash transfer when circumstances require, either by adding new beneficiaries (horizontal expansion) or by providing larger transfers to existing beneficiaries (vertical expansion).