Since 2017, the Humanitarian Country Team has adopted a ‘why not cash?’ approach, in-line with the growing support for cash transfers in response to the needs of populations affected by the different crises in Cameroon:
(1) the humanitarian situation in the Far North region, including the presence of Nigerian refugees and internally displaced Cameroonians, (2) the protracted crisis due to the presence of Central African refugees in the eastern part of the country, (3) the complex protection crisis in the South-West and North-West regions, and (4) the preexisting chronic and structural poverty affecting vulnerable households in the most under-developed regions of the country.
Why not cash?
Dignity to beneficiaries as cash can contribute to income-generating activities and livelihoods, rather than families relying exclusively on assistance;
Flexibility and choice – enabling beneficiaries to choose what is best for them, knowing what other assistance or income they may have;
Safe, efficient and effective means of providing relief in complex and insecure environments where feasible;
Economic empowerment of beneficiaries, especially women and young girls;
Reducing negative coping strategies, such as selling assets;
Revitalising local trade as the cash or vouchers are injected into the local markets;
Multiplier effects for traders, service providers and transport providers who benefit as a result of the cash injection.
While the use of cash-based interventions remains at a relatively low level (estimated 16% of all humanitarian assistance planned in 2018), numerous indicators point to the increasing capacity and interest in delivering cash programmes, notably:
The Cash Working Group was set up in January 2017, with regular and active attendance by humanitarian and development actors both at national (Yaoundé) and regional (Maroua) level;
A Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) was determined by an inter-agency task force and is used as a reference for covering basic needs and delivering multipurpose cash transfers in the Far North region; Multipurpose cash transfers are being increasingly used with donors specifically dedicating funds for the use of multipurpose cash;
Sector-specific cash transfers are already widely used, particularly to achieve food security objectives, but also for education, shelter, NFIs and livelihoods sectors;
Humanitarian and development actors are coming together to coordinate and harmonise their respective interventions, for example by harmonising transfer values, aligning approaches and conducting joint advocacy to promote the use of cash transfers;