June 3, 2020

What we learned from the third Cash Hub Webinar on “Adapting to COVID-19″ with focus on social protection linkages.

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.