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Safer cash in conflict: Exploring protection risks and barriers in cash programming for internally displaced persons in Cameroon and Afghanistan

  • Julie Freccero, Audrey Taylor, Joanna Ortega, Zabihullah Buda, Paschal Kum Awah, Alexandra Blackwell, Ricardo Pla Cordero and Eric Stover...

Abstract

As cash increasingly becomes an essential part of humanitarian assistance, it is critical that practitioners are aware of, and work to mitigate, exposure to protection risks among the most vulnerable recipients. This article presents findings from qualitative research exploring protection risks and barriers that arise in cash programming for internally displaced persons at high risk of violence and exploitation in Cameroon and Afghanistan. The authors conclude with recommendations for mainstreaming global protection principles into cash programmes, as well as key considerations for designing and implementing cash programmes in ways that minimize existing risks of harm and avoid creating new ones.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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This study was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this study are the responsibility of the University of California, Berkeley, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the US government.

Footnotes

References

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1 Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), “Glossary of Terminology for Cash and Voucher Assistance”, available at: www.cashlearning.org/resources/glossary#Cash (all internet references were accessed in August 2019). Cash-based interventions can also be referred to as cash-based assistance or cash transfer programming.

2 Paul Harvey and Sarah Bailey, Cash Transfer Programming in Emergencies, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), 2011, p. 3, available at: https://odihpn.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/gpr11.pdf.

3 Paul Harvey and Sarah Bailey, Cash Transfer Programming and the Humanitarian System, ODI, 2015. For syntheses of the evidence on the impacts of cash programming on various sectors, see also Paul Harvey and Sara Pavanello, Multi-Purpose Cash and Sectoral Outcomes: A Review of Evidence and Learning, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2018; Anjini Mishra and Francesca Battistin, Child Outcomes of Cash Transfer Programming, Save the Children, 2018; Shannon Doocy and Hannah Tappis, Cash-based Approaches in Humanitarian Emergencies: A Systematic Review, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, 2016.

4 Isabel Ortiz and Matthew Cummins, The Age of Austerity: A Review of Public Expenditures and Adjustment Measures in 181 Countries, Working Paper, Initiative for Policy Dialogue and the South Centre, March 2013, p. 26, available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2260771.

5 International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), The Grand Bargain Explained: An ICVA Briefing Paper, March 2017, pp. 3, 7, available at: www.icvanetwork.org/resources/grand-bargain-explained-icva-briefing-paper-march-2017.

6 Ibid.

7 S. Doocy and H. Tappis, above note 3.

8 Ibid., p. 17.

9 The term “protection” as utilized in this article is defined by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) as “all activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the relevant bodies of law (i.e. International Human Rights Law (IHRL), International Humanitarian Law, International Refugee law (IRL))”. This definition has been utilized and is reflected in the Four Protection Principles outlined in the Sphere Handbook, and we appreciate that these principles reflect the essence of the IASC definition but add a more tangible and practical framework for the analysis of protection, as was required for this article. These principles are to (1) enhance the safety, dignity and rights of people, and avoid exposing them to harm; (2) ensure people's access to assistance according to need and without discrimination; (3) assist people to recover from the physical and psychological effects of threatened or actual violence, coercion or deliberate deprivation; and (4) help people claim their rights. Finally, “protection risks” are therefore understood, and always in accordance with the IASC Protection Policy, as any type of violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, including violence, abuse, coercion and deliberate deprivation. See IASC, Protection in Humanitarian Action Policy, 2016, p. 2-3, available at: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/protection-priority-global-protection-cluster/documents/iasc-policy-protection-humanitarian-action, and Sphere, The Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, 2018, p. 36, available at: https://spherestandards.org/handbook/editions/.

10 See, for example, P. Harvey and S. Pavanello, above note 3; S. Doocy and H. Tappis, above note 3; Berg, Michelle and Seferis, Louisa, Protection Outcomes in Cash Based Interventions: A Literature Review, UNHCR, 2015.

11 M. Berg and L. Seferis, above note 10.

12 Slim, Hugo, Banfield, Rachel, Adenhof, Thierno Souleymane and Burton, Jo, Cash Transfer Programming in Armed Conflict: The ICRC's Experience, ICRC, Geneva, 2018, pp. 2830.

13 See, for example, Bell, Emma, Violence against Women and Cast Transfers in Humanitarian Contexts, UKAID, London, 2015; Hagen-Zanker, Jessica et al. , The Impact of Cash Transfers on Women and Girls, ODI, 2017; Berg, Michelle, Mattinen, Hanna and Pattugalan, Gina, Examining Protection and Gender in Cash and Voucher Transfers, World Food Programme and UNHCR, 2013.

14 M. Berg and L. Seferis, above note 10, p. 46; P. Harvey and S. Pavanello, above note 3, p. 27.

15 See H. Slim et al., above note 12, pp. 29–30.

16 See Lois Austin, Research Gaps in Cash Transfer Programming, CaLP, 2014, available at: www.cashlearning.org/downloads/calpgapresearchweb.pdf; A. Berg and L. Seferis, above note 10, p. 46; P. Harvey and S. Pavanello, above note 3, p. 27.

17 Global Protection Cluster, “Brief on Protection Mainstreaming”, available at: www.globalprotectioncluster.org/_assets/files/aors/protection_mainstreaming/brief_on_protection_mainstreaming.pdf.

18 See, for example, UNHCR, Guide for Protection in Cash-based Interventions, 2014, available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/erc-guide-for-protection-in-cash-based-interventions.pdf; IASC, Guidance on Gender Equality and Cash Transfer Programmes, 2015, available at: https://themimu.info/sites/themimu.info/files/documents/Guidance_on_Gender_Equality_Cash_Transfer_Programmes_in_Crisis_Apr2015.pdf.

19 Julie Freccero and Audrey Whiting, “Phase 1 Scoping Exercise – Desk Review: Summary of Findings”, unpublished manuscript, 2 February 2018.

20 Age and Disability Capacity Programme, Humanitarian Inclusion Standards for Older People and People with Disabilities, 2018, p. 251, available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/humanitarian-inclusion-standards-older-people-and-people-disabilities.

21 Ibid.

22 M. Berg and L. Seferis, above note 10.

23 For more information, see Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge, Intersectionality (Key Concepts), Polity Press, Cambridge, 2016.

24 Building an evidence base to assess the costs, benefits, impacts, and risks of cash (including on protection) is one of the key commitments agreed to by signatories of the Grand Bargain. See ICVA, above note 5, p. 5.

25 Global Protection Cluster, “Cash-Based Interventions and IDP Protection”, available at: www.globalprotectioncluster.org/tools-and-guidance/essential-protection-guidance-and-tools/cash-based-interventions-and-idp-protection/.

26 The IRC used these research findings to develop the Safer Cash Toolkit, which includes risk assessment and monitoring tools to enable practitioners to effectively identify and address protection issues and barriers in cash programming for the most vulnerable populations in humanitarian crises. See IRC and USAID, Safer Cash Toolkit: Collecting and Using Data to Make Cash Programs Safer, Washington, DC, 2019.

27 Funding for the research was provided by USAID and the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, whose primary mandate is to meet the needs of IDPs in situations of natural and human-caused disasters in countries outside the United States.

28 In both contexts, researchers were limited to selecting categories of at-risk groups for whom data is available and is collected by the IRC based on its targeting process and categorizations of vulnerability.

29 International Organization for Migration, Cameroon: Displacement Report, Far North Region, Round 12, November 27–December 8, 2017, p. 8, available at: https://tinyurl.com/wc72ydb.

30 UNHCR, Cameroon: Global Focus, available at: http://reporting.unhcr.org/cameroon.

31 Ibid.

32 According to CaLP's “Glossary of Cash Transfer Programming”, a multipurpose cash grant/multipurpose cash assistance is defined as “a transfer (either regular or one-off) corresponding to the amount of money a household needs to cover, fully or partially, a set of basic and/or recovery needs”. Unrestricted transfers can be used entirely as the recipient chooses (i.e., there are no direct limitations imposed by the implementing agency on how the transfer is spent). See CaLP, “Glossary of Cash Transfer Programming”, available at: www.cashlearning.org/downloads/calp-updated-glossaryfinal-august-2017update.pdf.

33 Matthew Willner-Reid, “Afghanistan: Displacement Challenges in a Country on the Move”, Migration Information Source, 16 November 2017, available at: www.migrationpolicy.org/article/afghanistan-displacement-challenges-country-move.

34 Ibid.; International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), “Afghanistan”, available at: www.internal-displacement.org/countries/afghanistan.

35 IDMC, above note 34.

36 The Emergency Response Mechanism is “an inter-agency collaboration for the delivery of cash-transfer programmes (CTPs)”. See CaLP, “Afghanistan Emergency Response Mechanism (ERM)”, 13 April 2017, available at: www.cashlearning.org/downloads/calp-inter-agency-collaboration-cs-afghan-web.pdf.

37 Quotes throughout this article come from interviews conducted during the research and are on file with the authors.

38 The IRC has requested that the following statement be included: “The IRC had in place mechanisms to both proactively and reactively collect information about these types of incidents in the area where this statement was collected; no such type of incident was identified during the period in which the research took place. It is possible that the incident may have happened in another time period or location or in cash distributions organized by other humanitarian stakeholders.” The HRC can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of this statement, as these records were not available to HRC researchers.

39 The number of cash transfers and the duration of the programme are generally communicated to participants through an orientation following enrolment in the programme per standard operating procedures.

40 Under Taliban rule, women were not allowed to travel without a mahram, or male blood relative, accompanying them. This practice persists in many parts of the country.

41 This is aligned with findings from previous research on the topic. See, for example, Sarah Bailey and Paul Harvey, State of Evidence on Humanitarian Cash Transfers, ODI, 2015, p. 3.

42 IRC and USAID, above note 26.

43 See Women's Refugee Commission, “Tools to Assess and Mitigate GBV among Urban Refugees”, available at: www.womensrefugeecommission.org/gbv/resources/1353-urban-gbv-tools; H. Slim et al., above note 12.

44 For practical tools and guidance on how to assess, mitigate and monitor protection risks in cash programming, see IRC and USAID, above note 26.

* This study was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this study are the responsibility of the University of California, Berkeley, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the US government.

Keywords

Safer cash in conflict: Exploring protection risks and barriers in cash programming for internally displaced persons in Cameroon and Afghanistan

  • Julie Freccero, Audrey Taylor, Joanna Ortega, Zabihullah Buda, Paschal Kum Awah, Alexandra Blackwell, Ricardo Pla Cordero and Eric Stover...

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