Rohingya Refugee Crisis, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Standard Operating Procedure: Cash for Work Programming
Rohingya Refugee Response: Context and Introduction
900,000 Rohingyas currently live in Bangladesh as a result of state sponsored violence in Rakhine State.The speed and scale of the influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency.
The Rohingyas who fled to Bangladesh came with very few possessions and have used the majority of their savings on transportation and constructing of shelter. They are now reliant on humanitarian assistance for food, and other life-saving needs. Basic services that were available prior to the influx are under severe strain due to the massive increase in population. In some of the Camp sites that have spontaneously emerged, there is no access to water and sanitation facilities. Combined with increasing population density, there is a high risk of an outbreak of disease. Given the scale and diversity of needs at the household level, among both Rohingyas and local populations, Cash Based Interventions (CBIs) have the potential to address the humanitarian response in a cost-efficient manner, while addressing the range of needs.
While partner agencies are implementing a number of programs supporting the community with cash stipends in exchange of their contribution, these engagements should not be mistaken with cash for work programming. Therefore, this guideline intends to explain what is cash for work programming and what principles apply to this operating context.
What is Cash for Work programming?
Cash for Work (CfW) is a cash based intervention (CBI) utilised in recovery situation through the provision of short term livelihoods opportunities. Cash for Work can be described as an instrument engaging vulnerable refugee families and host communities in temporary activities in exchange of cash payments which contribute to meet emergency needs. While CfW is one of a number of modalities used within cash transfer programming, CfW is not a panacea solution; there are pitfalls that are important to avoid. CfW needs a programmatic approach and a clear system that does not cause harm and address specific risks that can stem from this approach by clear mitigation measures.The financial resources provided by Cash for Work programming are short-term in nature and the positive results can endure far beyond the end of program activities.
CfW programming enabled many individuals with an income and can mitigate negative coping strategies such as (trafficking, human exploitation and sexual and abuses). Cash for Work provides assistance not only in the form of the restoration of livelihoods but through economic stimulation which is an impetus for affected individuals to reinvest back into their current environment. CfW is also a powerful tool for positive change however it is important to follow the guidelines discussed in this document to minimise harm in the response.