FEG conducted a safety net design analysis for the Somali Cash Consortium through Concern Worldwide in late 2018. The aim of the study was to use existing household economy analysis (HEA) data to help in the design of a scalable cash-transfer-based safety net program for Somalia. The analysis modelled the seasonal consumption/expenditure deficits faced by households living at 3 or 4 levels of wealth (very poor/poor, middle and better off) in 13 rural livelihood zones, over 15 years (30 seasons) from 2001-2015.

For the purposes of this study, the objective of the safety net program was defined as being to cover the deficits faced by most households in most seasons, keeping the need to scale up the program in ‘emergency seasons’ to a minimum. A second objective was to keep the program as simple to implement as possible.

One of the key findings from the design process is the potential complexity of a scalable safety net program in Somalia. This is because there are big variations in livestock and crop production, and therefore income, from one season to the next. For any one livelihood zone, this means that in a sequence of 30 seasons, there will be a number of seasons in which there are no deficits, but there will also be a few seasons with very large deficits indeed.

Another finding is that there is a trade-off between complexity and cost. A simple program, with a constant number of beneficiaries, a small number of transfer levels and only a few emergency seasons, will be far more expensive than a more complicated program with less ‘over-distribution’. A number of scenarios were run to explore the relationship between cost and complexity, and to try and find a reasonable compromise between the two.

The report also looks at how HEA could be used to help manage a scalable safety net program in Somalia in the future (especially in relation to setting the regular transfer level and scaling the program up and down in emergency seasons). There is also a section on the requirements (baseline and monitoring data, in-country capacity etc) for implementing such a program.

The report is available here: