By Ms. Casandra Gally, consultant
1. Executive Summary
During the month of November 2020, DanChurchAid ( together with People In Need (conducted a Cash and Voucher Assistance program to promote market recovery during and after intense flooding in four provinces: Battambang, Siem Reap, Pursat and Kampong Speu. A total of 2,482 targeted beneficiaries are spread across the aforementioned provinces.
To conduct this operation successfully, DCA joined forces with local partners as follows:
• Battambang Development and Partnership in Action (DPA), Banteay Srei (BS), Chivet Neng Dei (CnD) & Life With Dignity (LWD)
• Siem Reap BS
• Pursat Farmer and Nature Net Association (FNN), Life With Dignity (LWD)
• Kampong Speu FNN
DCA and PIN once again partnered with WING as their operational agent throughout the four provinces. The process had two different routes. In Siem Reap and Battambang, DCA and CnD utilized the BMS Beneficiary Management System (BMS) to provide transparent, real-time data management for the stakeholders. The beneficiaries received a text message containing an 8-digit Wing Code which they later used to collect the cash from WING. In a report conducted by PIN to evaluate Humansis, it was observed that the process was 100% successful within 8 days with an 80% completion rate within the first 4 days.
In previous evaluations, one of the most challenging aspects of this procedure was a constant change of phone number of the beneficiaries as they would change SIM card numbers instead of simply topping up the same phone number when running out of credit. However, during the interviews conducted in January 2021, it was found that beneficiaries were clearly instructed by the stakeholders and their respective Village Chief to maintain the same phone number and keep their phones fully charged so that the operation would work. Only 2 people interviewed changed their phone number during the distribution time frame, and they both alerted their village chief as to the occurrence.
In Pursat and Kampong Speu LWD, FNN and DPA used WING vouchers as their primary tool for the cash distribution. In order to do this, beneficiaries were gathered in large numbers so that the CVA program process could be properly explained to them. The beneficiaries received cash vouchers which they then took to the WING distribution point and exchanged for cash. Thanks to data management, the stakeholders were able to see if all beneficiaries collected the cash and alert the appointed person should there be need of personal assistance.
During the month of January and February 2021 (the timeframe was altered due to COVID-19 outbreaks in some of the provinces), DCA conducted a post-distribution follow-up with an independent consultant to document:
• Best practices
• Lessons learned
It is the aim of this paper to present those findings, and in turn help to create the updated CVA SOP.
Overall, the findings are positive. While it is still difficult to mitigate corruption from local authorities during the selection process, ongoing relationship management has been an improvement, especially with a strong emphasis on letting authorities know that their work will be cross-checked and verified by DCA. The list of beneficiaries is then posted for 48 hours and, with over 2,400 beneficiaries listed, DCA only received 10 complaints; none of which were of sensitive nature.
For the purpose of this field exercise, 15% of the beneficiaries were interviewed across all four provinces with a mix in age and gender via a structured questionnaire. Out of all the interviewed beneficiaries, 100% said that the CVA process was clear and easy to follow. Additionally, 100% said that they received the cash without any issues. As mentioned above, only two people changed their phone number during this time and five people complained that they were often out of a coverage zone while working in the fields, so the text was delayed. A total of six participants reported that the village chief followed up with them directly when they delayed going to the WING transfer point for over 48 hours and assisted them in getting the cash. In all six of these cases, participants did not know how to operate a phone or check their text messages.
In all four provinces, 100% of the beneficiaries reported feeling safe at the cash distribution center with minimum issues faced on the road (in Battambang it was reported that the moto bikes often got stuck in the mud).
100% of beneficiaries reported that their immediate food needs were covered in their household for an average of 4 to 6 weeks after the flood. However, in all provinces, with the exception of Kampong Speu, beneficiaries stated that vegetables and meat saw a price increase after the flood. Overall, beneficiaries elected to buy the following items as their number one priority: rice (46%), medicine (37%), food seasoning (7%), school supplies (6%), items to help their crops 3%).
Overall, the feedback from targeted individuals was overwhelmingly positive, showing a solid relationship between them and the local stakeholders. There are no registered complaints concerning the mechanism and, for those who received the cash voucher, they said that it is the easiest process they have ever followed and extremely comfortable.