Cash assistance has been a popular response to the COVID-19 crisis, with 340 programs introduced by 156 countries since March 2020. While cash transfers have been shown to be effective for poverty relief in many settings, the pandemic poses a range of new challenges for cash. For example, can cash transfers help people to cope when a pandemic hits on top of the lean season when people are already going hungry? How does cash assistance affect food security and public health behavior within refugee populations, who may be uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19?
This guide can inform interventions in any program context: protection mainstreaming into sectoral programs, joint programs such as protection and livelihoods, and protection programs, such as child protection programs that include cash transfers to caretakers. It is aimed at program managers and technical experts across all areas or sectors of humanitarian response, including protection experts. It uses a community-based approach and participatory methods.
This paper seeks to demonstrate practical ways in which NGOs are linking their humanitarian work to social protection and the added importance of this in the context of COVID-19, following from the earlier work of CCD outlining the role of NGOs to improve the access to and delivery of social protection in crises and the COVID-19 advocacy paper. This is written for signatories of the Grand Bargain, particularly those engaged in the cash sub-working group on social protection and humanitarian cash.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the World Food Programme (WFP) are warning that severe underfunding, conflict and disasters – as well as supply chain challenges, rising food prices and loss of income due to COVID19 - threaten to leave millions of refugees across Africa without food. “Millions of refugees throughout Africa are currently reliant on regular aid to meet their food needs,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Around half are children, who may develop life-long difficulties if deprived of food at vital stages in their development.”
The world is experiencing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and the contractions in economic activity in response to COVID-19 are having a disproportionate impact on hunger in conflict-affected states. According to a new analysis from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), $1.7 billion in additional cash funding is required in 2020 to limit the number of people going hungry in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and displacement.
Slide presentation of the webinar held on 16 June 2020. This webinar showcased practical UNHCR cash responses across different continents, including adjustments to existing cash-based interventions (CBI), use of complementary shock responsive social safety net (SSN) programmes and challenges that refugees face in accessing social protection.
In the current environment of rapidly expanded government-led social protection schemes coverage of the most vulnerable has been a key discussion point especially in the SP and humanitarian cash transfers space. Seen as primarily a ‘humanitarian’ caseload, forcibly displaced have different underlying legal frameworks (and sets of dividends) with real consequences on their ability to access social protection systems.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is seeking US$745 million as it races to prepare for and prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 among refugees and other displaced populations around the globe. This is UNHCR’s portion of the revised UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan appealing for US$6.7 billion, launched last Thursday. Based on the latest assessments of global needs to curb the impact of the pandemic among forcibly displaced, it is an upward revision of the initial US$255 million sought in the earlier appeal for UNHCR on 25 March.