July 1, 2020
What we learned from the fifth Cash Hub Webinar on “Adapting to COVID-19″ with focus on Community Engangement & Accountability.
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.