Cash-transfers for long-term resilience in conflict affected contexts

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Helpdesk Query:

What does the evidence say about the ability of cash transfers to build longer term resilience in conflict contexts, including whether there any comparison around different modalities for promoting resilience (e.g. cash verses vouchers/in-kind, conditional verses unconditional, targeted verses untargeted in conflict contexts)?

Please note any evidence in particular that applies to women and girls and accessing the most vulnerable.

Summary:

The term resilience was brought into use by social science disciplines as a counter to discourse on vulnerability (Panter-Brick, 2014). Reducing vulnerability in post-conflict contexts at the household level broadly translates into securing food and livelihoods. This is what this report focuses on. In disaster risk discourse the following definition of resilience is used: the capacity of a community to adapt to hazards by changing to maintain an acceptable level of functioning (UNISDR, 2004). This emphasises securing food and livelihoods in a way that is resistant to disturbance or having systems in place to support needs that are threatened. Some literature was also found which applies the concept to political resilience and peacebuilding which is included.

Expert contributors agree that humanitarian cash transfers by their nature tend to be part of short-term programmes which are not evaluated beyond the life of the programme. Most of the evidence on different transfer modality focuses on the short-term. Cash tends to be favoured over food by recipients, it is generally more cost effective and has the potential to be invested for longer-term resilience. A UNICEF evaluation which assessed impacts of a cash transfer programme one-year on found benefits were not sustained for the most marginalised (Erba, forthcoming). Combining emergency assistance with longer-term social protection is a useful way forward. Programmes which provide transfers with other mechanisms for support with regards to future employment and investment have seen some success.

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