May 20, 2020

What we learned from the second Cash Hub Webinar on “Adapting to COVID-19″.

On 20th May 2020, cash experts from the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and the Lebanese Red Cross Society led the 2nd Cash Hub Webinar from Cash and COVID-19 series. Speakers discussed Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) operational adaptations, challenges and plans from their respective societies.

Tinomutenda Maposa, from the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, began by stressing that pre-COVID Zimbabwe was already affected by food insecurity. During the lockdown linked to COVID-19, however, prices increased by 50%, causing further intensification of food insecurity issues. Additionally, the ZRCS shared their experience of partnering with an FSP to use mobile money, as this modality is better suited to protect vulnerable staff, volunteers and people affected by the crisis during the COVID-19 outbreak. Value Vouchers have been prioritised over Commodity Vouchers because it allows beneficiaries to take advantage of subsidised foods, making sure the money they receive can be stretched to cover more needs. Moreover, Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) and Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA) activities are being undertaken remotely, primarily through mobile phone communication.

Maysa Ibrahim, from the Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS), informed the participants that pre-COVID-19 Lebanon had been facing multiple crises such as the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Palestinian Refugee Crisis. More recently there have also been economic, monetary and sanitary crises. Maysa shared an update on the two different CVA targeting mechanisms used in Lebanon. For Syrian Refugees, registration is undertaken with the support of UNHCR. For Lebanese or unregistered Syrian refugees, there are a hotline and an in-house assessment that are used to identify a vulnerability score, allowing people to apply for CVA according to it. The LRCS Disaster Management Field Centres are another avenue that people can avail of to go through an in-house assessment. Additionally, because of price increases the current Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB), created in 2017, is out-of-date and the 175 USD a month purchasing power has decreased. Furthermore, difficulties in withdrawing cash via the ATMs has produced tensions in the communities.

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.