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Independent review of CashCap support to the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh 2017-2019 - Executive Summary

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Author: Lois Austin – Independent Consultant

1 Executive Summary

CashCap is an inter-agency project, managed by NORCAP, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s global provider of expertise to the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding sectors. CashCap has been deploying senior experts to provide inter-agency support with the aim of increasing the use and effectiveness of cash and markets programming in crisis contexts since 2016.

In early October 2017, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) requested support from CashCap with the initial aim of establishing a platform for the coordination of cash-based interventions (CBI) for the Rohingya refugee population following a large-scale exodus of this vulnerable group from Myanmar into Bangladesh.

Since then, CashCap has deployed three experts with the aim of putting in place and maintaining CBI coordination mechanisms; providing technical and capacity building support; and pursuing CBI-focused advocacy. In part due to the different phases of the crisis into which the deployments took place, but also linked with each expert’s skills and capacities, the deployments have taken on the following focus:

Deployment 1
October – December 2017
Key focus on establishment of a coordination platform and inclusion of CBI into initial assessments and response analysis

Deployment 2
January – June 2018
Key focus on linking the Cash Working Group (CWG) to the wider humanitarian system and providing technical support and CBI evidence-building

Deployment 3
August 2018 – February 2019
Key focus on advocacy towards the government in relation to CBIs and supporting high-level decision-makers include CBI-thinking into ongoing response analysis.

The experts have been deployed over a 16-month timeframe. This length of support, provided through the three deployments, has been necessary due to the different focus priorities of each deployment. Due to the complex political and humanitarian environment, advocacy towards the government, which was the focus of the third and final deployment, needed to be undertaken by a neutral person/body. As noted by key stakeholders CashCap was ideally placed to offer this form of support and there would have been few, if any, equally neutral alternatives leading to a longer-than-usual support from CashCap.

The review has been undertaken by an independent consultant and has focused on qualitative data collection and analysis through interviewing key stakeholders and reviewing relevant documentation. A total of 20 semi-structured interviews were undertaken with deployed CashCap experts and other stakeholders involved in the Rohingya crisis humanitarian response including the host agency, donors and operational agencies. A number of interviews were undertaken remotely but a brief visit to Cox’s Bazar allowed for in-person interviews as well as a visit to Kutupalong refugee camp.

The purpose of the review is to assess the relevance, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of the support provided by CashCap to the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar in 2017 and 2018. Primary users of the review will be the NORCAP Department and the CashCap Steering Committee. The report will also be shared with an external audience including CashCap partners, relevant stakeholders and donors.