We are delighted to open recruitment to the Cash Practitioner Development Programme, also known as ‘Cash School’.  The programme will continue into 2020 and beyond, based on the initial success and the 2019 pilot.  This unique programme aims to strengthen the community of qualified practitioners with up-to-date skills in areas of cash expertise,  helping to integrate cash skills into everyday work. The programme takes the form of a 12 – 18-month structured learning and development programme building on expertise that prospective participants have already gained. Learning activities include online and other conventional training, actionable learning, deployment experience and mentoring that is specifically tailored to each participant’s needs to improve on specific cash competencies. The programme allows individuals to be part of a community of practitioners holding themselves to a high standard of competence, and to benefit from a structure for continuing professional development.
 
There are multiple learning pathways available to applicants, depending on experience. During the recruitment process, applicants will be selected to move into a full pathway or an accelerated pathway. Those who do not meet the requirements of the full pathway may be invited to join a prospective cohort community  to support their development for future rounds of recruitment. Adaptations have been made for the 2020 – 2021 cohort following the COVID-19 pandemic and current travel restrictions. Elements of the programme have been moved online or will be delivered remotely. 

Applications will be accepted up to Friday 9th October, and must be sent to CashSchool@redcross.org.uk.  To download the recruitment brochure outlining the programme and the selection criteria click here.

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Original article on the IFCR Platform, written by Lotte Ruppert.

COVID-19 does not discriminate, but the pandemic has disproportionately impacted certain vulnerable communities. Migrants and refugees face particularly large risks, due to language barriers, limited access to public services and a larger reliance on informal labour. Each has diverse perceptions, fears and opinions that we, as a humanitarian community, must address if we want to see this pandemic end.

For Turkey, a country that hosts the largest refugee population in the world (over 4 million from places like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran), this presents a unique challenge. How do you engage people with diverse languages, cultures and communication preferences, all while adhering to strict movement restrictions to curb the pandemic?

Despite the impressive efforts from governmental and humanitarian actors, our impact assessment from April 2020 showed that almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of refugee households did not feel like they were receiving enough reliable information about COVID-19.

In response, Turkish Red Crescent and IFRC have ramped up their efforts to listen and engage with refugees in Turkey during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are three lessons we learned about how to engage with communities at a large scale through the EU-funded Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), the largest cash programme globally.

Lesson 1: Use a wide variety of communication channels

Everyone communicates differently. In ESSN, we rely on a range of different channels to allow people to speak with us in a way that they prefer and trust, including Facebook, regular SMSs and our toll-free Call Centre, where all operators have been trained to respond to COVID-19 related concerns and to provide hygiene advice or updates related to ESSN. 

But these remote communication channels are not enough.

Refugees in Turkey have expressed their preference to share more sensitive concerns and complaints during private face-to-face conversations. Our nine Service Centres, spread across Turkey, have remained fully operational in order to provide information and support to people during the COVID-19 outbreak, with robust measures to ensure the safety of both its staff and visitors. This approach has been crucial to building trust.

Lesson 2: Do not ignore rumours

“I have an ESSN card but I saw on Facebook that my monthly cash assistance will soon be ended. What is the reason for that?” asked a refugee recently via our call centre.

This “fear rumour” reflects the anxieties of refugees living in Turkey that ESSN may end.

Another refugee family shared: “We are currently receiving ESSN cash assistance, but we have seen on YouTube that Turkish Red Crescent will now also give us rent assistance due to the impact of COVID-19”.

This is a clear “wish rumour”, reflecting the hope of refugees for more support during these difficult times.

The spread of such misinformation and rumours has always been a challenge for ESSN. But we learned that during the COVID-19 pandemic – a time of increased insecurity and stress – it is even more important for us to monitor the appearance and spread of misinformation.

The best defence is to prevent rumours before they start. We share regular information updates, getting accurate, trusted information into people’s hands before rumours have a chance to emerge. When rumours and misinformation do surface, we quickly counter false stories with verified information and ensure the news stories or posts are removed online. We encourage the people we work for to participate too by sharing verified, trustworthy information within their community.

Lesson 3: Responding to incoming questions, feedback and complaints alone is not enough. Reach out proactively to the most vulnerable households

While actively reaching out to every one of the millions of refugees living in Turkey is practically impossible, Turkish Red Crescent has made thousands of outbound calls, contacting the most vulnerable households. This includes families required not to leave their homes for some weeks due to a mandatory curfew, including anyone over 65 as well as people with disabilities. This proactive approach enabled people to share all their questions and concerns with us, including sensitive issues or requests for additional support.

Depending on the specific needs and concerns raised, Turkish Red Crescent has referred some of these people to other services, such as the national COVID-19 emergency hotline, the social assistance services provided by the Turkish Government, and specialized services from other humanitarian actors, including protection actors.

Conclusion

In Turkey, now more than ever, we must continue to build more meaningful relationships with communities and act on people’s concerns and suggestions. COVID-19 has challenged the way we as a humanitarian sector work, but it has also allowed us to find more innovative solutions to listen to refugees and respond to their needs.

More about the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) 

Home to more than 4 million refugees, Turkey hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. Most of them are Syrians, fleeing a conflict that has been ongoing for nine years. With funding from the European Union, Turkish Red Crescent and IFRC are able to provide monthly cash assistance to the most vulnerable families through the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN). Over 1.7 million refugees benefit from this assistance, enabling them to cover some of their basic needs, including food, rent and utilities, every month.

This article covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Click here to read the full article on the IFRC platform.

On the 12th of August 2020, the IFRC, ICRC, Senegalese Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, and the Egyptian Red Cross led the 9th Cash Hub Webinar on Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and migration.

Ezekial Simperingham, Migration & Displacement Coordinator at the IFRC Kuala Lumpur, began opened the webinar presenting three major type risks associated with COVID-19 that disproportionately affect refugees, migrants and IDPs: health, socioeconomic, and future risks related mainly to protection. Ezekial. It was also highlighted howCOVID-19 is perpetuating the factors that can lead to these risks and their impact on migrants.

Edouarde Delaplace, Protection Coordinator at the ICRC Dakar, Nicolas Mendy, Project Manager at the  Senegalese Red Cross and Tafsir Seydou Tamba, EcoSec at the Senegalese Red Cross informed the participants of the Accompaniment of Families of Missing Migrants project. The speakers highlighted some of the main challenges perpetuated by COVID-19, while discussing how the ICRC and Senegalese Red Cross work together on tackling issues that would affect migrants, through specific components of the programme. Additionally, the Economic Support Programme, using cash grants to develop livelihoods, was mentioned,. with details on how the grant was distributed and expected humanitarian outcomes.

Brian Brady, Migration Program Delegate at the Danish Red Cross, discussed the main aims of the AMIRA programme (Action for Migrants: Route Based Assistance), while highlighting key activities  of the programme in Guinea focusing on information and protection, psychosocial support , livelihoods  and humanitarian cash assistance. In 2019, the Danish Red Cross began supporting the Guinea Red Cross in setting up structures and processes for an institutionalised cash response in the National Society, bolstering AMIRA’s cash response. It was also highlighted how the cash amount is determined, how its outcomes are reviewed, the various transfer methods, and key learning points from past successes, alongside persistent challenges.

Mohammed El-Keblawy , Project Manager at the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC), and Hamed Mohamed, Field Coordinator at the Egyptian Red Crescent, updated the participants on the ERC’s health care services to migrants and host communities in Greater Cairo, while illustrating the ERC’s response to COVID-19’s consequences, including rent assistance, as well as the provision of food items and hygiene kits. The speakers discussed the ERC’s methodology of intervention, a vulnerability and capacity assessment tool they had created, challenges in their responses and a shift to electronic cash transfer methods.

To register for upcoming webinars, visit the Events page of the Cash Hub platform regularly.

To watch the recording of this  webinar you can click here. More resources related to CVA and COVID-19 can be found on the Cash and COVID-19 dedicated section, while recordings and resources from past webinars can be found on the Cash Hub and COVID-19 Webinar Series page.

On the 29th of July 2020, the IFRC, ICRC and the Bahamas Red Cross led the 8th Cash Hub Webinar on shelter and settlements programming with Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA).

Marta Peña, from the Shelter team at the IFRC Geneva, began the webinar discussing the two major lines of action regarding shelter and settlements programming: supporting health outcomes through improvements in the physical environment and focusing on medium to long-term shelter interventions. Moreover, CVA plays an important role in shelter and settlements interventions, especially in reconstruction/housing projects. Marta stressed, however, that financial resources are not the only limiting factor to access safe accommodation, technical support and follow up is always required if the shelter objective is to be met. When multi-purpose cash (MPC) transfers are used, if it is clear recipients intend to spend to meet shelter needs then proper companion programming needs to be in place to maximise impact of the MPC

Alexandra Kappeler, from the Cash and Markets Team at the ICRC Geneva, and Mustafa Hakeem, WatHab Engineer at the ICRC Iraq, informed the participants of a durable returns programme in Iraq, in which cash for shelter is a central component. The durable return programme contains four main pillars: shelter, livelihoods, infrastructure and protection. There is a cash grant between 2000 to 7500 USD, depending on the extent of the destruction of the house and size of the family. Grants were being spent locally stimulating the local market. The speakers continued highlighting the benefits of a holistic intervention, the inherent flexibility in cash programs, and the sense of rebuilding community.

Laxman Chhetry, Senior Shelter & Construction Advisor at IFRC Bahamas, and Myrleinne Sargent, Case Manager at the Bahamas Red Cross, discussed the rental assistance programme in response to hurricane Dorian. The speakers revealed how the programme was carried out, who would be targeted, how the rental housing is assessed for adequacy, how much cash would be given per month for rent and how it would be monitored. Additionally, the speakers outlined several benefits the rental assistance programme provides and how it is being adjusted to COVID-19’s effects.

Santiago Luengo, OPS manager at the IFRC Americas Regional Office, discussed how rental programmes should be adapted in response to COVID-19 and how IFRC has developed a step-by-step rental assistance programming guide.

To register for upcoming webinars, visit the Events page of the Cash Hub platform regularly.

To watch the recording of this webinar you can click here, while more resources related to CVA and COVID-19 can be found on the Cash and COVID-19 dedicated section.

On 15 July 2020, cash experts from the British Red Cross, the Afghan Red Crescent Society, the Gambian Red Cross Society, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, and the Livelihoods Resource Centre led the 6th Cash Hub Webinar undertaken jointly with the Livelihoods Resource Centre on livelihoods and household economic security.

Andra Gulei, Senior Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor at the British Red Cross, informed the participants of the three pillars of Household Economic Security: survival threshold, basic needs, and livelihoods protection. It was highlighted how many National Societies (NSs) are supporting ‘basic needs’ through Cash and Vouchers (CVA), as empowering people receiving assistance to choose how best to support themselves. Additionally, it was stressed that to support an individual’s basic needs, the link with livelihoods was stressed as something that is required to support people’s basic needs or when people do not have income they cannot meet their basic needs in future without assistance.

Asadullah Sediqi, DRR and Livelihoods Coordinator at the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), explained the way COVID-19 exacerbated health and socio-economic issues and ARCS’s response, which has been implementing Livelihoods Recovery and Development programmes pre and post COVID-19. ARCS has been working on a women’s empowerment project targeting 871 households and one of the micro-businesses that the has come out of this has included a facemask production business. Additionally, the ARCS has targeted 50,000 individuals to receive in-kind food assistance and 25,000 households to receive unconditional CVA for basic needs.

Buba Darboe, Head, Disaster Management and Food Security at the Gambian Red Cross Society, discussed an on-going CVA-related project assisting households to meet basic needs. Businesses and labourers impacted by COVID-19 have been included, alongside women-headed households, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and stateless people. Darboe continued informing participants that pressure on households caused by food costs and limited income has increased gender-based violence since the lockdown began. 

Mike Ovsiannikov, CVA Focal Point at the Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS), described their standard livelihoods programme targeting IDPs to start/restore their source of income. Additionally, Ovsiannikov discussed how, because of COVID-19, the URCS is no longer using the post office for CVA and how they have partnered with local authorities to investigate how COVID-19 has impacted the economy). Targeting was identified as a difficult task, specifically in relation to the scoring of vulnerability and the evaluation of business plans.

Adrianna Estrada, from the Livelihoods Resource Centre, described the function of the Centre in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Centre have produced practical tip sheets dealing with much needed programming advice. Additionally, they are launching a tool to help staff consider different livelihood response options, which allows them to take into consideration outputs and objectives. Tips on how to undertake response options are also included.

To register for upcoming webinars, visit the Events page of the Cash Hub platform regularly.

To watch the recording of this webinar please click here. More resources related to CVA and COVID-19 can be found on the Cash and COVID-19 dedicated section, while recordings and resources from past webinars can be found on the Cash Hub and COVID-19 Webinar Series page.

On the 1st of July 2020 the British Red Cross, the Kenyan Red Cross, the Bangladesh Red Crescent, and the ICRC led the 5th Cash Hub Webinar on Community Engagement & Accountability (CEA) and Cash & Voucher Assistance (CVA). This Webinar was run jointly by the Cash Hub and the CEA Hub.

Sophie Everest, Community Engagement & Accountability Advisor at the British Red Cross, began the webinar discussing how both CEA and CVA are about helping people overcome crisis with dignity, and CVA must be paired with effective 2-way communication and trust to enable this to happen. However, CEA is not always high on the list of priorities and COVID-19 is producing further barriers to engaging with communities.

Fredrick M. Orimba, CVA Focal Point of the Department of Disaster Management at the Kenyan Red Cross, explained how due to COVID-19 many livelihoods have been impacted. Loss of income has meant that CVA for basic needs has been identified as an increasingly appropriate response option. The Kenya CWG developed a minimum expenditure basket (MEB) for COVID-19, based on the pre-COVID-19 interim MEB, which was created through local consultation with communities and assessments of local markets. Mobile money transfers are the preferred cash transfer mechanism due to the high amount of mobile-phone use, and more details of the KRCS’ experience with mobile transfers were shared with participants. Additionally, it was revealed how the KRCS retrieves data from assessments, creates their selection criteria, and the various channels used to receive feedback (pre and post-COVID-19).

 

Monira Parvin, CEA Manager at the Bangladesh Red Crescent, informed participants on the history of the BRCS’ use of CVA and CEA, and shared information on key partners and platforms that have been used to help distribute cash. Regarding community participation, Parvin discussed programme practices performed before COVID-19, while outlining the major changes occurring because of the pandemic such as remote briefings of volunteers who are based in affected communities using technology. There is an interest in developing a digital cash preparedness platform to reach less-accessible communities, as mobility during the pandemic is proving to be difficult.

 

Indu Nepal, Community Engagement Lead at the ICRC, listed issues the ICRC is facing regarding delivering CVA and community engagement during COVID-19; contested spaces, unmet expectations, use of digital tools, limited feedback channels and unpredictability in accessing conflict areas. Additionally, exclusion has been identified as a challenge exacerbated by COVID-19. To carry out community engagement, the ICRC is communicating with community leaders or individuals with phones. Older community members have been identified as not only more vulnerable to COVID-19, but also to the exclusion effects produced by the use of greater technology in the pandemic and the ICRC has had to make extra efforts to connect with these vulnerable individuals.

 

To register for upcoming webinars, visit the Events page of the Cash Hub platform regularly.

To watch the recording of this webinar you can click here, while more resources related to CVA and COVID-19 can be found on the Cash and COVID-19 dedicated section.

Original article on LinkedIn, written by Sophie Everest.

When the conditions are right, cash can be a more appropriate and effective approach than other, more traditional, forms of in-kind assistance. Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) can put more decision-making power in the hands of the communities we serve, helping people to overcome crisis with dignity. Cash recipients are generally more positive about the extent to which their needs are met than those receiving only in-kind aid.[1] Promoting choice and enhancing dignity of affected people is therefore rooted in CVA programming, but this can only be achieved if cash distributions are coupled with 2-way communication and trust.

Data has shown an increase in the use of cash during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is undoubtedly good news, as aid organisations recognise the merits of using CVA to respond to the complex secondary impacts of Covid-19 on the lives of vulnerable people. However, we are still hearing that Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA) is not always high on the list of priorities. With traditional forms of face-to-face community engagement no longer an option, or at least limited due to social distancing guidelines and lockdown restrictions, there are more barriers than ever to engaging meaningfully with vulnerable people. However, we must recognise that prioritising community engagement will enhance the dignity and empowerment that underpin CVA. We cannot promote the effectiveness and appropriateness of CVA if we fail to consider the extent to which the programme has been accountable.

There are many actors finding practical and creative ways to get feedback and ensure the participation of communities during the pandemic. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is uniquely placed to do just this due to our network of community-based volunteers whose proximity to, and local understanding of, the communities we serve is unparalleled.

In Kenya, CVA is being scaled up to respond to Covid-19. The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has extensive experience in engaging with local communities and ensuring their participation in programme decision making. Community consultations showed that mobile money transfers, using a service called MPESA, is the preferred modality for cash transfers as it is locally available, highly trusted and makes cash delivery easily accessible. As the cash is transferred digitally over a mobile phone it’s also an ideal modality during Covid-19. KRCS covers the transfer cost and ensures that those who do not own a mobile phone are able to use a trusted proxy to receive the cash on their behalf. Selection criteria for cash distributions are disseminated through trusted channels, including radio and TV, to ensure communities understand who has been selected and why. Those who feel they meet the criteria but have been missed from the recipient list can call the complaint hotline to have their case considered.

In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) relies on the participation and feedback of community members to ensure CVA targets the most vulnerable people with appropriate and effective assistance. Indeed, as a result of community feedback received, a private breastfeeding corner is now set up at every cash and voucher distribution site to support mothers and their infants. When complaints were received that one of the partner banks was not allowing cash recipients to withdraw cash at the agreed date and time, BDRCS took the issue to the banks’ branch management and had it resolved. When cash recipients said that they did not have the information they needed to establish small businesses with the cash they were receiving, BDRCS decided to share contact information, advice and guidance on how to engage with governmental departments such as the fisheries, agricultural and livestock offices. These improvements are a direct result of listening to the communities and acting on the feedback received. Not only does this help to make CVA more effective and appropriate, it is also critical to building and maintaining trust with the communities we serve.

These examples are only a small snapshot of the work being done by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to ensure the participation of local communities in programme decision making during Covid-19. Thanks to the Cash Hub – an initiative to scale-up the use of cash in the Movement- we had the opportunity to hear more examples of Cash and CEA best practice in Covid-19 responses from the Bangladesh Red Crescent, the Kenya Red Cross and the ICRC in a recent webinar. You can watch the Webinar recording here.

 

[1] Humanitarian Voice Network, ‘Changing the perspective: what recipients think of cash and voucher assistance’, Dec 2019, https://humanitarianvoiceindex.org/policy-briefs/2019/12/04/changing-the-perspective-what-recipients-think-of-cash-and-voucher-assistance

On 17th June 2020, cash experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), British Red Cross (BRC), Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and The Netherlands Red Cross St. Maarten participated in the 4th Cash Hub Webinar on Cash and COVID-19. This online event offered a platform to discuss how the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is adapting its Cash and Voucher (CVA) strategy in response to COVID-19, from a data and digital technology perspective.

Joseph Oliveros (IFRC) shared a brief analysis of the consequences of COVID-19, which are pushing forward digital transformation to cope with the pandemic. Data is essential in CVA, and so tools and strategies are being tailored to meet this new context. Joseph reminded participants that it is not only about data but individual competencies of those managing the data.

Muhammed Amin (Pakistan Red Crescent Society), highlighted the benefits of Red Rose and how it is being used for disaster response in Pakistan. Amin explored how COVID-19 has incentivised the use of mobile money for PRCS. Additionally, in the last 4 years their CVA team has moved away from paper-based data collection, to Red Rose and ODK, which are providing ‘clean, error-free, and timely data’.

Peter Mujtaba and Jenny Harper from the British Red Cross (BRC) provided information on the Hardship Fund, a domestic UK programme targeting 13,000 people with assistance in response to the COVID-outbreak. The whole system has been setup remotely from BRC, through Zoom calls, telephone calls and email exchanges. Capacity building was conducted remotely enabling a dispersed workforce, which was under lockdown restrictions, to use Red Rose effectively.

Fernando Suárez Jiménez from the Netherlands Red Cross St. Maartens discussed the challenges that COVID-19 is presenting to CVA and informed participants on plans for staff and volunteer’s capacity building through the IFRC’s learning platform and specific CVA courses.

To register for upcoming webinars, visit the Events page of the Cash Hub platform regularly.

To watch the recording of this webinar you can click here, while more resources related to CVA and COVID-19 can be found on the Cash and COVID-19 dedicated section.

Original article on Devex, written by Caroline Holt

“Jobs are being lost. The restrictions on movement that are keeping people safe from the coronavirus are often damaging or destroying their livelihoods and their ability to feed and care for their families. Around the world, the most vulnerable people are facing a stark and possibly deadly choice: Do they risk contracting COVID-19, or risk not feeding their families?

As humanitarians, how can we help prevent families from having to make this impossible choice?

In Turkey, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or IFRC, and the Turkish Red Crescent surveyed some 500 Syrian refugees being supported by our programs. We found that 69% have lost their jobs, their expenses have skyrocketed, and their biggest concern is how they will feed themselves and their families. More than half of these households are borrowing money to cover their most basic needs — including food.

Right now, vulnerable communities across the world need extra support quickly, safely, and reliably. Due to the scale of this crisis, there is a very diverse range of groups and individuals being badly affected, and their needs are equally diverse. We must be able to provide flexible support that can adapt to these different needs.

Delivering cash to the people in most need and in close coordination with national social protection systems is the most appropriate way to respond to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 around the world.

We all know and talk about the benefits of cash, especially now in these difficult times. Yet the latest estimates suggest that less than 20% of humanitarian relief is currently delivered through cash programming.

The immense impact of COVID-19 is a wake-up call for us to change this. There is no better time to tap into the power of cash as a critical link between economies and households, and it can become a lifeline for millions of people globally.

The current pandemic has shown us that without health, there is no economy. It also shows us that without access to financial support, it is harder for people to reduce health risks or recover their health once lost.

Giving cash to people facing crisis helps address a wide range of needs — from rent, food, and education to hygiene items that help prevent diseases from spreading or encourage access to health care. It allows them to prepare, prioritize, and take care of their families, based on their own preferences and decisions. By alleviating the stresses on families struggling to meet their basic needs, we can help them avoid negative coping mechanisms that could put them at further risk of COVID-19.

Cash programming allows us to respond rapidly and at scale while still protecting the people we serve, our staff, and our volunteers in communities around the world. Through the European Union-funded Emergency Social Safety Net program, Turkish Red Crescent and IFRC are providing monthly cash assistance to more than 1.7 million refugees. Transferring funds through this existing infrastructure can allow us to rapidly respond and adapt to current needs and provide additional assistance when needed at a massive scale. […]”.

To read the full article visit Devex clicking here.

 

 

 

On 3rd June 2020, cash experts from the British Red Cross (BRC), the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC), the Montserrat Red Cross (MRC), and the Baphalali Eswatini Red Cross (BERC) led the 3rd Cash Hub Webinar on Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and COVID-19, with a focus on social protection linkages.

David Peppiatt, Director of the Humanitarian Cash Assistance Programme at the BRC, opened the webinar introducing potential linkages between social protection, humanitarian assistance, and CVA. The strategic relevance of National Societies (NSs) in this context, due to their role as auxiliaries to the government and their strong local networks, was also highlighted. To conclude David stressed how the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has led governments to expand and adapt their social protection measures, and NS should be looking at how CVA can have synergies with these programmes.

Orhan Hacimehmet, Cash-Based Assistance Coordinator at the Turkish Red Crescent, presented the example of the Emergency Social Safety Net programme (ESSN), led by TRC which is providing social protection assistance in collaboration with the government. He also mentioned the Conditional Cash Transfers for Education Programme delivered via Kizilaykart (a debit card used by TRC), which provides social protection assistance to the refugee population. Orhan stressed the importance of relevant data and the role played by TRC in putting in place an information management system, integrated with several institutions, which allows multiple and simultaneous cash programmes (many related to social assistance) to be delivered, through card systems.

Glenn Francis, Director of Montserrat Red Cross, explained how in response to the effects of a stalled economy the government has been distributing food packages and the Red Cross is proposing to top-up with vouchers to provide assistance for large families (especially those with children). To allow this to work, the government asked people receiving support permission to share data gathered from social services activities with the MRC – the data received was used to check that the beneficiaries met the selection criteria.

Danger Nhlabatsi and Siphelele KB Mkhonta, National Disaster Management Coordinators at the Baphalili Eswatini Red Cross, discussed how pre-COVID19, the government was providing social protection payments to the elderly and disabled people, mostly through a cash-in-envelope transfer mechanism on a quarterly basis. Due to the restrictions on movement and assembly, the government tapped into the knowledge of BERCS CVA to look at another transfer mechanism to replace their normal cash-in-envelope social protection programme and decided to adopt mobile money, in line with BERCS experience.

Marga Ledo, BRC CVA/HES Roster Delegate and formerly IFRC Linking CVA and Social Protection lead, described the different modes of linkage between NS CVA and Social Protection such as vertical and horizontal expansion, piggybacking and design tweaking. She also introduced the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s new Cash and Social Protection Technical Working Group (TWG) that will remain in place for 2 years. This is a key development for the Movement, as there are currently over 180 countries delivering COVID-19 related support through social protection systems and many NSs are playing a key role as auxiliaries to the government.

To register for upcoming webinars, visit the Events page of the Cash Hub platform regularly.

To watch the recording of this webinar you can click here, while more resources related to CVA and COVID-19 can be found on the Cash Hub and COVID-19 webpage dedicated to the Webinar Series.