In 2016, Mozambique experienced the effects of a serious el Nino event which resulted in drought conditions in the southern and central provinces of the country. This required a humanitarian response with the provision of food and agricultural inputs to households classified IPC3 or above. Much of the food provided by humanitarian agencies was distributed through Cash Based Transfers in the form of fairs using both paper and electronic vouchers. In order to harmonise approaches, a Cash Working Group was established within the FSL cluster to standardize both modalities and the value of monthly assistance derived from calculations of the Minimum Expenditure Basket.
During this time, authorisation for the use of Cash Based Transfers in emergencies in Mozambique was limited to voucher interventions and without the approval of the Mozambican government, discussions concerning the use of multi-purpose cash transfers remained theoretical. However, with the support of ECHO and DFID, the Cash Working Group continued its work to explore opportunities for the use of Cash Transfers in emergencies. COSACA, the Red Cross and WFP advocacy projects were launched to develop an evidence base that could persuade the Mozambican government on the effectiveness and efficiency of cash transfers in emergency response.
During this period, the following activities were conducted:
• Cash Transfer programming training for Mozambican government staff
• Cash Transfer programming training for humanitarian agency staff
• Market Assessments on cash feasibility
• Financial Service Provider surveys
• Study tours for INGC staff to ongoing cash transfer projects in Kenya and El Salvador
• Pilot project for cash transfers in Tete province (through social protection mechanisms)
These advocacy efforts fostered enthusiasm within INGC to take the lead in presenting the case for the use of Cash Transfers in emergency response. A position paper endorsing the use of Cash Transfers in Emergencies in appropriate contexts was developed under the leadership of the INGC - in partnership with the Cash Working Group - with the aim of presenting the final document to the Council of Ministers in the month of April 2019 for endorsement. The final document is still in development with current events in Beira likely to delay its presentation before the CoM and its endorsement.
While investments in advocacy have clearly presented a convincing case and generated favourable acceptance for the use of MPCTs under appropriate conditions, implementation in Mozambique has yet to be officially endorsed by the Government.
In preparation for the possibility that the GoM will accept Cash Transfers as part of the Cyclone Idai response, the Cash Working Group is planning market assessments and financial service provider assessments to evaluate the feasibility and appropriateness of cash transfer responses.
Any agency interested in contributing to this work should contact the CWG to harmonise approaches and pool resources.