Oxfam, Save the Children and the UN World Food Programme are excited to jointly release their cash feasibility studies for Fiji and Vanuatu today in Suva, Fiji as delegates gather for the Pacific Resilience Meeting.
Cash Transfer Programming (CTP) is a way to provide support in a crisis that gives people greater choice, dignity and control over their lives. It enables people affected by a crisis to receive money or vouchers, so they can buy local goods from local markets and meet their most urgent needs.
It is particularly important in Asia-Pacific, the most disaster-prone region in the world, where residents are five times more likely to experience a natural disaster than someone living elsewhere in the world.
CTP has been used to support communities post Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji and for people displaced from Ambae due to volcanic activity in Vanuatu, as well as during Tropical Cyclone Pam.
“For some areas of Fiji, CTP has been found to be feasible immediately after a disaster, while for others, it would be more appropriate in the longer term in order to help affected communities recover and rebuild,” said Save the Children Fiji CEO Iris Low-McKenzie.
The Fiji study also found that CTP planners need to understand the easiest ways for people to receive cash, and how local markets and suppliers are affected by disasters in order for the response to be most effective.
“We also found that better community understanding around how cash and voucher transfers work could improve their delivery and usefulness, mitigate risks and potentially increase financial literacy and inclusion,” Mrs Low-McKenzie says.
Meanwhile in Vanuatu, the nationwide assessment conducted in 2018 says while it’s possible to implement cash and voucher assistance in various parts of the country, different approaches are needed depending on the location coupled with strong capacity building measures.
“While CTP can be implemented in Vanuatu, NGOs, government, civil society and other stakeholders should consider investing in cash preparedness, training and learning for staff in order to build capacity to implement cash transfers at scale,” said Regional Director for Oxfam in the Pacific Raijeli Nicole.
Both the Fiji and Vanuatu studies recommend piloting different cash transfer modalities at a small scale, to improve understanding of CTP in communities and understanding of these processes amongst stakeholders.
Funded by the Australian Humanitarian Partnership’s DisasterREADY program, an initiative of the Australian Government, the studies are part of the regional Pacific Cash Preparedness Partnership between Oxfam, Save the Children, and the United Nations World Food Programme. This partnership is focused on conducting a series of feasibility studies and preparedness initiatives across Vanuatu, Fiji and Solomon Islands in order to increase awareness, capacity and expertise in CTP in the Pacific Islands.