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Guidelines for cash transfer programming - International Federation ...

Guidelines for cash transfer programming - International Federation ...

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18 International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Guidelines for cash transfer programming 3. Assessments This chapter identifies the key information that should be gathered in assessments so that sufficient information is available to support and feed into the decision-making and design process on which cash transfer interventions are based. Key messages ■ Assessment data for cash transfer programmes should include information on markets, security risks, financial transfer mechanisms and institutional capacity. ■ Multidisciplinary teams (including one member who understands cash transfer programming) should undertake assessments. ■ Involve members of the targeted community in discussions at every stage of the programme planning process. ■ In some situations the data gathered in a rapid assessment are sufficient to form the basis for a cash intervention. ■ During the assessment process, in conflict situations/volatile environments, pay specific attention to the prevailing and potential security risks and the risk of disruption to markets. Further information on assessments and how to conduct them can be found in the following documents: ■ International Federation, How to conduct a food security assessment – A step-by-step guide for National Societies, forthcoming. ■ International Federation, Guidelines for emergency assessment, 2005. ■ International Federation, How to conduct a food security assessment – A step-by-step guide for National Societies in Africa, 2006(2 nd edition). ■ ICRC, Economic security assessment guide, 2002. ■ Practical tools 1 (Assessment checklist for cash programmes), 2 (Market assessment) and 5 (Assessing financial institutions) in Section C of these guidelines.

Guidelines for cash transfer programming Implementing cash programmes Assessments A.3 3.1 Cash as part of assessment processes Cash is a possible form of humanitarian response, based on a proper identification of needs and vulnerabilities. Assessments can be: ■ Rapid (undertaken after a major change; normally takes one week or less; should be followed by a detailed assessment). ■ Detailed (can follow a rapid assessment; undertaken when a situation is changing and more information is needed; when it is a new operational area; can take one month or more). ■ Continuous (occurs after a detailed assessment and when the Movement is already operational in the area; provides updated information). Ideally, a multidisciplinary team with the following skills should undertake the assessment: ■ Knowledge of the affected population. ■ Emergency food security and livelihoods assessment skills. ■ Market analysis ∗ skills. ■ Programme design and management skills. ■ Finance/administration knowledge. ■ An understanding of cash programming. As with all assessments, the community should participate or at least be involved in discussions during the assessment process. 3.2 Aspects of assessment relevant for cash programming Some key elements need to be covered in the assessment in order to consider whether cash transfer programmes are an appropriate option. Essential aspects to consider include: ■ Market assessment and analysis are particularly important. They should be undertaken to decide whether markets are able to respond to an increased demand for commodities. The risk of disruption to markets needs to be considered particularly in conflict/volatile environments or after a sudden-onset disaster. ■ Movement components that have little experience of cash transfer programmes need to assess whether they have the institutional capacity to implement, monitor and financially manage such programmes. While logistics are often simpler than for in-kind distributions, additional finance capacity may be needed. If necessary, support may be available from within or outside the Movement. ■ Assess the security environment in which the programme will be implemented in order to identify threats (e.g., to programme staff in handling and delivering cash; to recipients during cash distribution, on their way home/to market or at home/market), analyse vulnerabilities and define the seriousness of any risks. ■ Assess the risks of corruption. Remember they are different from, but not necessarily greater than, those presented by in-kind distributions. Learn to recognize them and find ways of minimizing them. ■ In both emergency response and recovery programming, assess the food security situation. If people cannot meet their food needs adequately, cash assistance will normally be spent on food (generally their main expenditure). Provide food and/or cash directly to cover food needs. Also, find out if other organizations are distributing food. * The definition of terms followed by an asterisk can be found in the glossary (see page 4). Rapid assessments are sometimes sufficient to decide whether a cash transfer is the most appropriate response, and are reliable enough to form the basis for programme design. In other situations, more detailed assessments may lead to the decision to implement a cash transfer programme. But further information may still need to be gathered before designing the programme, particularly in relation to markets, security, financial transfer mechanisms and institutional capacity. When assessing whether to set up and carry out a cash transfer programme, make sure the following aspects are taken into consideration: market analysis, institutional capacity, security and corruption risks, and the food security situation. 19

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