Strengthening resilience in crises through Transitional Development Assistance (TDA)

Enabling flexible implementation and financing in crises, focused on the most vulnerable populations to adapt to violent conflict, natural disasters or pandemics.
Humanitarian, Development & Peace (HDP) nexus

Strengthening resilience in crises through Transitional Development Assistance (TDA)

Enabling flexible implementation and financing in crises, focused on the most vulnerable populations to adapt to violent conflict, natural disasters or pandemics.
Transitional Development Assistance by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

The project in brief

Implemented by

Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) / Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany


In 2019, BMZ focusses its TDA on the following countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.


Early 2000s - ongoing


TDA is an instrument, and a budget line, that enables flexible implementation and financing in crises. Focused on the most vulnerable populations, it strengthens the resilience of individuals and institutions, e.g. their capacity to withstand and adapt to crises such as violent conflict, natural disasters or pandemics. Guided by the principle of promoting self-help capacities, TDA uses local potential to stabilise and improve the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations in the long term.

Project aims

TDA aims to pave the way for long-term development by employing a people-centred multi-sectoral approach, including the following four areas: food security and nutrition; the reconstruction and rehabilitation of basic infrastructure; disaster risk management; and strengthening social cohesion and peace e.g. in communities hosting large numbers of refugees or displaced people. TDA makes an important contribution to linking humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and peace building according to the HDP-Nexus. The peace pillar, conflict sensitivity as well as adherence to the “do-no-harm” principle, are fundamental to TDA. The promotion of evaluation and learning as well as innovative technologies, approaches and methods is included in all fields of action.

Resources used 

TDA interventions, which receive multi-year funding with an average duration of three to four years, do not necessarily require political preliminaries such as general agreements on technical co-operation. TDA is a development-oriented instrument, which enables BMZ to implement projects flexibly according to contexts and needs. It allows for a massively shortened funding process, which only takes four to six weeks. Through TDA, the BMZ designed and consistently developed an instrument to engage in highly fragile and volatile contexts adding expertise and experience of development cooperation at the earliest possible stage. TDA currently has a total volume of approximately 1.2 billion euros per year.

Main activities of the Good Practice

One area of activity under TDA is the strengthening of social cohesion and peace e.g. in communities hosting large numbers of refugees or displaced people. TDA specifically supports refugees in gaining a foothold within their new surroundings, be it in the community, in which they have found refuge, or as returnees in their home region. Preventing conflict over already scarce resources such as drinking water in the communities, in which refugees have settled, is essential to TDA. To avert conflicts from arising or worsening, TDA ensures that all population groups - locals and refugees - benefit from the implemented projects and are involved in e.g. peace committees.


To implement its Transitional Development Assistance, BMZ works with multi- and bilateral partners such as the UN World Food Programme, UNICEF, GIZ and the German Development Bank KfW as well as several German NGOs and the Red Cross.

Challenges and how they were overcome

The main objective of TDA is to strengthen resilience. Applied around the project cycle, eight factors assist project staff to tackle a variety of challenges and to better operationalize the resilience-building approach:

 1) Introduce a coherent analysis package: complement existing livelihood system analysis to understand the interlinkages between different kinds of risks, vulnerabilities, existing and needed resilience capacities.

2) Apply a bottom-up process throughout the project cycle: generate inclusive ownership and trust in new and innovative strategies for managing risk and change.

3) Break down operational silos and utilize synergies: link different actors under joint initiatives including a common longer-term vision (or theory of change) for managing a complex risk landscape.

4) Reinforce linkages between different society layers: shocks, stressors, risk and change impact each layer of society differently. A resilience approach seeks to analyse and act at multiple layers for better impact.

5) Use a political economy approach to inform project actions: analyse formal / informal power structures to understand how people could use adaptive and transformative capacities to unblock structural causes of vulnerability.

6) Support a long-term vision behind the project: connect projects to a long-term country strategy to build trust and ownership of communities and authorities to use new strategies to better manage a range of risks and changes.

7) Design a step-by-step threshold approach with beneficiaries: use a series of thresholds to be reached by people to progressively and verifiably build resilience over time.

8) Learning, innovation and flexibility: facilitate the exchange of practices, learning and technology between indigenous and external sources across public, private and civil society actors.

Results of the Good Practice 

Since 2018, BMZ-funded TDA-projects contributed to resilience strengthening of at least 14.6 million beneficiaries. TDA lays special focus on the most vulnerable, such as children and youth.


Therefore, since 2018 TDA provided at least 9.9 million children and youth with access to quality education and skills development in contexts of fragility and crisis. Furthermore, TDA reached at least 7.8 million people with food security and nutrition measures and implemented context-adapted WASH-measures for at least 8.8 million people. TDA puts a special focus on the MENA-region, Africa and Eastern Europe (Ukraine). In Iraq and Syria, German TDA addresses at least 5 million people to provide vocational training, improve access to quality education and enhance food security.

From the TDA budget line, Germany supports the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Fund for education in emergencies since 2017 with 41 million USD. Education Cannot Wait (ECW) was launched as the new global fund for education in emergencies at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. From more than 1.4 million children reached by ECW, nearly half were displaced children (refugees or IDPs). 

ECW’s core principles align with the Grand Bargain commitments – in particular on joint programming and bridging the humanitarian and development divide, increasing accountability, and localisation. The global financing gap is 8.5 billion USD per year to provide education support for the 75 million children affected by crises. Against this backdrop, ECW aims to:

  1. Increase political support to education in crises
  2. Increase financing for education in crises
  3. Improve joint planning and responses (uniting humanitarian and development efforts)
  4. Strengthen capacity to respond to crises (individual and institutional capacity and improving delivery systems)
  5. Improve accountability

Lebanon: UN World Food Programme (WFP) – “Working sensibly in conflict and migration settings

Over a million Syrians have fled to Lebanon. No state has accepted more refugees in proportion to its population size. This has led to immense challenges for the country. Through the WFP, BMZ supports both Syrian refugees and Lebanese families in need. For instance, so far more than 8,000 men and women have repaired roads, irrigation canals and fields and have worked to reforest woodland together. For their work, they have received transfers to electronic voucher cards, which they use to purchase food for themselves and their families. This strengthens the local economy and contributes to a more dignified and self-determined life, as families can buy exactly what they need most. In addition, Lebanese and Syrian women and men can take part in short-term training courses e.g. computer courses to help them re-enter the labor market. Working and learning together promotes exchange and mutual understanding between the Lebanese and Syrian populations.


Submitted by:  

Dr. Ralf Schröder, Head of Division 222, Crisis management, transitional development assistance, reconstruction, infrastructure in crisis situations, BMZ