Comprehensive guide and reference useful for designing and implementing a multipurpose cash grant intervention during an emergency response. The guide provides detailed step-by-step guidance after the onset of an emergency from the initial needs assessment, to how to determine the transfer value, to ensuring programme quality.
Education advisors, managers and donors could use this toolkit to determine if multipurpose cash grants are feasible and appropriate during an emergency response and as a reference in designing and implementing quality programming.
There is significant scope for increasing the use of multipurpose cash-based interventions in humanitarian responses. In appropriate contexts, this approach ensures better “value for money” by lowering transaction costs; it allows beneficiaries a wider and more dignified choice of assistance, based on their preferences; and it empowers vulnerable groups. It can be a vital contribution to making affected people the prime agents of response. Furthermore, multipurpose cash-based interventions support local markets and can enhance communities’ economic recovery, preparedness and resilience; and in certain cases complement existing social protection systems.
Multipurpose Cash Grants (MPGs) are unrestricted cash transfers that “place beneficiary choice and prioritisation of his/her needs at the forefront of the response”.
MPGs recognise that people affected by crisis are not passive recipients of aid who categorise their needs by sector. Any provision of direct assistance (whether cash, voucher or in-kind) is a form of income for aid recipients, who must make difficult decisions to prioritise various and changing needs over time. Assistance that is less fungible risks being sold or converted to meet other, more pressing needs. When people are not able to meet priority needs, they engage in negative coping mechanisms to increase their income or reduce their expenditures, such as taking on dangerous or illegal work or taking children out of school.
This toolkit – and indeed all the outputs of the Enhanced Response Capacity (ERC) Grant (2014– 2015) focusing on operationalising the Multipurpose Grant and increasing the evidence base and capacity to reflect protection concerns in CBIs – are greatly indebted to the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) department.
This operational guidance and toolkit brings together worldwide expertise on cash-based interventions (CBIs). It provides comprehensive and practical guidance for humanitarian actors to assess the feasibility, conceptualise the design and structure the implementation of MPGs. The guidance focuses on MPGs whose primary objective is to meet basic needs as defined by affected people themselves, International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law and Sphere Standards. However, the nature of MPGs means they can be easily “topped” up for time-bound and specific needs that can be met by cash, e.g. school supplies or seasonal livelihoods activities.
How this toolkit is structured?
- The assumption of this toolkit is that the emergency is happening or has just happened. Therefore important references to Preparedness are found at the end of the toolkit.
- Each section is standalone and begins with a landing site that describes the main topic and links the reader to other related topics in the toolkit, e.g. a quick Market Situation Analysis done at the Needs Assessment stage in the first few days after an emergency is then followed up by a Multi-Sector Market Assessment a few days or weeks later.
- The introduction to each section is followed by an Essential Checklist. The checklists are not exhaustive, but provide short and discrete guidance on essential steps to consider when deciding whether MPGs are an appropriate and feasible cash modality. Additionally, they offer guidance on designing and implementing harmonised MPGs.
- The toolkit is also interspersed with examples of MPGs used in recent emergencies and some lessons learned to date (see boxes). Red Flags highlight the potential protection benefits and risks of MPGs. Exclamation points indicate short cuts that can be taken when time is of the essence, and more in-depth analysis can happen later when lives are not at stake.
- This toolkit does not replicate what already exists but seeks to add value to existing guidance and tools. Therefore there is a Resources list at the end of each section. They strongly recommend visiting the CaLP website for more information.
- While creating the toolkit, partner agencies developed detailed guidance on such topics as Multi-Sector Market Assessments, Protection Risks and Benefits Analysis, Inter-Agency Standard Operating Procedures, and Common Delivery Mechanisms. They have taken the bare minimum for the toolkit, but the detailed versions are referenced here and provided in the Annex; these are also found on the CaLP website, specifically on the MPG thematic page.