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Poland Cash Working Group Brief - Emergency Relief for Refugees Fleeing Ukraine 2022: A Temporary Rapid Cash Response for those displaced and most in need (April 19, 2022)

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Overview: Since February 24, 2022, over 4.98 million people have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries (data) while relief agencies have recently reported an estimated 870 000 have returned, a flow of about 30 000 per day (OCHA).

The Cash Working Group in Poland, co-chaired by UNHCR and PAH, was created to facilitate coordination of a rapid Cash-Based Intervention (CBI) providing immediate emergency relief to those displaced with prioritization based on the severity of people’s needs.

This document outlines the approach and guidance recommended to date and provides an overview of the key issues related to the rational, design and implementation of the initial CBI. Adjustments can be expected as the situation evolves, more information becomes available and actors on the ground provide feedback to further strengthen the timeliness, effectiveness and efficiency over the use of MPCAs.

CWG Meeting Notes

Highlights from the CWG Meeting, April 13, 2022

The CWG meetings take place each Wednesday at 15:00 online. The following highlights the issues raised during the last meeting:

• There are some initial reports from the field that people may have doubts about the reality of cash assistance, while there is little data on the extent of this problem. However, it may indicate the need for further improving communications to target groups to reduce the risk of exclusion.

• PAH reported first payments with Sodexo cards are on their way after some delays related the limits per card and per month. This resulted in a switch from a lump sum to monthly payments and the use of two cards for families over 3 members to operate within the specified zloty limits per card.

• Low rejection rates were also reported which could be the result of targeting those highly in need, or the need to adjust severity of need criteria. This will be assessed and reported once larger enrollment numbers take place.

• The CWG now has more than 100 people on the participants, emailing, list. Errors with access or receiving emails are likely to be slightly more common, but efforts will be taken to reconcile the lists and access regularly to accommodate.

• Sharing experience from the field that can be relevant for other members of the CWG is encouraged for each meeting to help others adjust to further improve the efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of MPCA in Poland.

• The 5 Ws are still available online and filling this out will facilitate field coordination in addition to reducing some chances of duplication of efforts in the field. Some errors with uploading have been reported, however, the excel file can be shared with UNHCR co-chair for uploading the data.

• UNHCR shared that there are now about 18 000 enrolled in their system representing over 5 600 Households, with an average size of about 2.3. Data snapshots were shared with the CWG.

• The issue of People with Disabilities was also raised to help ensure that access to enrollment is maintained.

• UNHCR stressed that biometric data is only collected from children over 5 years old, however, it was recognized that other organizations may face legal issues with the collection and storage of biometric data.

• The biometric data issue is still being looked into legally and while it may permit rapid de duplication efforts, there are also issues beyond legal compliance such as equipment and training, and the need to enroll face to face to fully utilize the features of this system.

• The waiting time for assistance was also raised in addition to the problems this may cause, such as people moving to other locations, and potentially applying elsewhere in the hoped of receiving some assistance and causing duplication.

• IOM reported on their recent pilot with fewer numbers showing up than originally expected through a reception center. Over 500 per day were previously reported passing through.
Outcomes from the pilot will be shared.

• The issue of notifying people that they were approved or not approved was also raised in addition to how long it may take to approve and notify.

• IOM reported also using Sodexo cards for their MPCA pilot.

• UNHCR presented briefly on its next enrollment centers • ProGres is continuing to be rolled out and those organizations who wish to access training should contact Christine at UNHCR, the new Registration Officer, for assistance.

• The issue of identifying people at risk was raised. Generally, vulnerability criteria are used to help guide identifying those who likely are more in need of cash assistance, but within these categories, severity of needs are used to further target and approve those enrolled for MPCA.

• CRS/Caritas plans to start roll out of MPCA in 4 locations in the next weeks.

• IFRC reported starting small scale cash distributions while ACF reported currently distributing 15 days worth of support with potential plans to move towards 3 months coverage later.

• SOS has a voucher programme primarily for foster families at the moment but is interested in a larger scale roll out of MPCA later.

• The CWG discussed the issue of a need to find an appropriate approach for de duplication while the legal issue of data sharing was also raised and the potential for others to see the private personal information of other applicants in the ProGres database etc.

• It was agreed that a sub working group for de duplication would be formed and this technical issue looked into with reporting back to the CWG.

• The first meeting is planned to take place on Thursday, April 14, for those who can attend a kick off session with a number of organizations expressing interest in taking on this task.

• Focal Points will be sought for managing the portal along with the FSP mapping and de duplication approach.