Cash Relief Intervention Projects
In 2011, famine and escalated cases of violence in Somalia increased the number of new refugee arrivals from Somalia to Dadaab, exceeding 1,000 people a day. Around 30,000 arrived in June, 40,000 in July and 38,000 in August. This placed additional strain on existing resources. Together with the local authorities and humanitarian agencies, UNHCR managed to address the influx by establishing reception centres and rapid response assistance for new arrivals. This assistance was however inadequate. The new arriving refugees often sort residence from existing refugee Households (HHs), thus adding extra strain to their counterparts who were already staying in the refugee camps. As a result, both the old, as well as the new arrivals experienced shortages in form of foods, as well as income to meet their day-to-day needs. Additional assistance was needed to lift this suffering from these populations.
The Cash Relief Interventions project targeted two newly established refugee camps namely Ifo East and Ifo West, both of which had a combined population of about 75,000 people. The main goal was “to contribute to the restoration of dignity and hope for the most vulnerable refugees by reinforcing their material situation to better integrate them into the wider refugee community” by (a) boosting their purchasing power to meet their special needs and reduce the burden/load on the established refugee households by minimizing dependency by the new arrivals, and (b) improving local economy of the camps through cash grant input.
RRDO disbursed cash grant to the targeted refugees in three equal monthly installments with each beneficiary receiving US$300. A total of 300 beneficiaries including most vulnerable young parents, elderly, orphans, unaccompanied minors, the disabled and the female headed households benefited from this project. To deliver on this, RRDO undertook the following key activities:
RRDO organized stakeholder consultations bringing together the then District Commissioner (for Dadaab), representatives from the department of refugee affairs, head of sub-office for UNHCR, refugee camp management agencies, Kenya Red Cross Society and Lutheran World Federation in order to introduce the project and its objectives, as well as ensure coordination with the other ongoing interventions implemented by these institutions. A series of other meetings were held that brought together the camp leadership and the Cash Relief team. Further, on a monthly basis, interagency meeting for Ifo East and West were also held under the leadership of UNHCR field unit.
The specific activities that RRDO undertook to effectively roll-out this project included the following:
- Selection, Verification and Registration of targeted refugees:
The beneficiaries for the cash relief were selected from the vulnerability assessment that was conducted by LWF and Kenya Red Cross. RRDO developed a selection criterion that was shared with UNHCR protection unit and the Camp leadership. A total of 300 beneficiaries were selected, with equal representation from both refugee camps. Further, RRDO undertook verification exercise at the household level to ascertain the vulnerability condition and identification details. The beneficiaries were later registered, a process that involved taking of photographs and processing of identification cards that contained the Ration Card Numbers.
- Disbursement of the cash grant
RRDO contracted Hawala money transfer agency to facilitate the disbursement of the cash to the beneficiaries. Part of the process involved preparation of the payment schedules and submission to Hawala agency before transferring the funds to the money transfer company for onward payment to the targeted beneficiaries. To receive the funds, beneficiaries were required to produce their identity cards to the company. The money transfer company then kept all the accountabilities of the funds transfer, which was used to account for the funds back to RRDO.
- Post Distribution Monitoring
To collect lessons from the implementation, RRDO, as well as representatives from the funding agency i.e. AFSC conducted post distribution monitoring. This exercise served as a feedback mechanism for the disbursement and expenditure pattern of the beneficiaries. RRDO facilitated three focused group discussions in both Ifo East and west, bringing together the camp leadership, as well as the beneficiaries. Further, RRDO also undertook monitoring exercise at HHs level to capture expenditure pattern of the cash entitlement. The outcome of the HHs level monitoring revealed that 90% of the total beneficiaries spent their income on basic HHs needs including sugar, milk, clothes and bedding with a higher percentage (70%).