Using Data to Guide Decisions for Cash-Based Interventions: UNHCR's Needs and Market Assessment Approach

Using Data to Guide Decisions for Cash-Based Interventions: UNHCR's Needs and Market Assessment Approach

Russell Harpring (UNHCR, Hungary) and Giulio Andrea Franco (UNHCR, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7591-7.ch011
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Cash-based interventions are a means to provide refugee populations with resources to meet their own needs in an autonomous way. Yet, markets must be functioning, accessible, and expandable enough for refugees to utilize them. Situational information, including demographic information regarding the population of concern, provides the context to ground the project in. An assessment of needs will identify what is needed, how much, and by whom. This information will guide the market assessment to determine if the market has the capacity to absorb additional demand for the goods/services within the intervention scope. This chapter aims to provide a review of how data is used to guide the decision-making process of whether to implement CBI projects and the methods involved during the needs assessment and market analysis. This is followed by a practical example demonstrating how data can be used for decision making for a CBI project in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
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The UNHCR works primarily with refugees in displacement situations who cannot to return to their place of origin due to a crisis. Many times, these displaced PoCs are not able to meet their own needs through their immediate locale without outside assistance. The UNHCR has a clear mandate to provide protection to these PoCs, who may fall into the category of statelessness, returnees, refugees, asylum-seekers, and in some cases, internally-displaced. Short-term assistance is required for nearly every situation, but the long term goal for PoCs is voluntary repatriation, local integration, or resettlement (United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2003). CBIs are not intended to be an indefinite solution, but have been found to contribute to long-term growth and sustainability for future generations (Department for International Development, 2011). With respect to this, implementation of CBIs is not an objective in and of itself, but rather a method used to bring the operation closer toward the objective.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multi-Functional Team (MFT): A team comprised of staff representing different functions, organizations, or communities involved in a project.

Financial Service Providers: Organizations that provide banking, loans, money transfers, and financial options to customers.

Persons of Concern (PoCs): A population of persons identified by the UNHCR as refugees, returnees, stateless people, internally displaced, and asylum-seekers.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): A document developed to provide standardized guidance for a specific process to ensure consistency throughout the project life-cycle.

Cash Transfers: Providing money to persons of concern to meet a specific need as part of a program’s operational objectives.

Cash-Based Interventions (CBIs): A type of market intervention which uses cash or vouchers to meet the needs of a targeted population who have access to a functioning marketplace.

In-Kind: Goods or services that are provided by a donor to meet the need(s) of a targeted population.

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