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Table 2 Feasibility Scorecard

From: Are cash-based interventions a feasible approach for expanding humanitarian assistance in Syria?

  General assessment Varies by risk level Varies by governoratea
Acceptability
 Beneficiary acceptance and preferences Widespread acceptance and preference for cash transfers, supplemented by in-kind assistance only when essential items are unavailable in local markets. X YES
 NGO acceptance and preferences Acceptance, preference, and readiness in theory but limited by donor and organizational policies. X X
 Donor acceptance and preferences Acceptance in theory from major donors (EU, DFID, etc.) but no explicit acceptance of working via the hawala system or clarity on due diligence requirements needed to mitigate legal/fiduciary risks. X X
 Political/local council acceptance and preferences Cash-based assistance is acceptable to local councils. However, many expressed preference for programs that benefit the community as a whole, not individual households, and that could have more lasting benefits for resilience and recovery. X X
Infrastructure
 Transfer mechanisms Hawala networks provide infrastructure needed to expand cash-based responses to the Syrian crisis but are not currently acceptable. X X
 Delivery mechanisms Cash and voucher delivery mechanisms are well established. Preferred delivery mechanisms vary by risk level and governorate. YES YES
 Availability of markets for goods/services Markets are functioning in most areas of northern Syria, albeit with fuel shortages in some areas and occasional stock-outs during periods where high-risk areas are cut off by heavy fighting. X X
Implementation capacity
 Technical design/management International and Syrian NGOs currently providing assistance in Syria are well positioned and have demonstrated capacity to provide cash-based assistance, in coordination and with technical leadership from the CBR-TWG. However, consensus on humanitarian community risk thresholds and a common strategy for design, management, monitoring, and evaluation of multisector cash-based assistance and complementary sector-specific initiatives will be important for broader reaching cash assistance programs. X X
 Logistics/financial YES X
 Monitoring/accountability YES X
 Partnership management and coordination X X
Value for money
 Economy Cash transfers are less costly than alternative assistance modalities. YES X
 Efficiency Vouchers are more cost-efficient and cost-effective than in-kind food assistance. However, they may be more susceptible to fraud or manipulation than other assistance modalities. YES X
 Effectiveness X X
Risks
 Security risks Cash-based assistance is more discrete and thus may present fewer security risks than in-kind assistance. YES NO
 Fiduciary risks The lack of common fiduciary risk thresholds and management strategies are the humanitarian community’s greatest obstacle to expansion of cash-based assistance modalities. X X
 Operational risks The CBR-TWG and NGOs have a clear understanding of operational risks and are using innovative strategies to mitigate risks; scaling up cash-based responses in a volatile environment may present new risks. X X
Flexibility/responsiveness
 Ability to meet changes in beneficiary needs Previous cash-based response programs were designed to respond to emergency needs of particularly vulnerable populations, and the reach of hawala networks suggests potential to expand cash-based assistance efforts as needs arise. The ability for rapid implementation of cash assistance programs depends largely on the organization’s capacity to collect necessary data, identify and work with local partners, and appropriately design context-specific program plans. YES X
 Ease of rapid phase-in/phase-out as substitute for other modalities as needed YES X
  1. aInterpret with caution; the household survey was not designed to be representative of populations at the governorate level or to detect differences by governorate