From 2020 to 2023 the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme provided unrestricted, unconditional cash assistance to the most vulnerable people living under Temporary Protection, International Protection (applicant status and status holder) or Humanitarian Residence Permit in Türkiye. The ESSN enabled its more than 1.5 million recipients to decide for themselves with dignity how to cover their essential needs such as food, rent, medicine, transport, utilities and other bills. Implemented in this period by the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) and the IFRC, with funding from the European Union, the ESSN was the largest humanitarian cash programme in the world. 

In December 2023 the IFRC and TRC organised an ESSN Learning Exchange event in Ankara, with the support of the Cash Hub. Its aim was to use the experience gained from implementing the ESSN programme to contribute to the body of knowledge on humanitarian emergency cash and social protection programming. 

The event was attended by humanitarian practitioners from different organisations including the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, national NGOs, INGOs, UN agencies, non-state actors, donors and Government representatives and took place in a hybrid modality with some participants joining in person and others online. Key sessions looked at the ESSN journey since its inception in 2016; community engagement and accountability (CEA) in large-scale CVA programming; innovative uses of data supporting ESSN design and implementation; programme adaptability and shock responsiveness; the value of positive campaigning via lessons from the ESSN’s unique story telling project; and at enablers for the successful implementation of a large-scale nexus programme.  

Watch the short video below to catch the main highlights

Zain’s family: ESSN assistance in Türkiye

The story of Zain and her family, displaced by conflict and then benefitting from their Kızılaykart cash-based assistance as they make a new life in Türkiye

ESSN in Numbers

Summary figures and achievements for the ESSN programme

Communicating with ESSN participants

The key role of SMS in facilitating two-way communication as part of the ESSN’s community engagement and accountability