Background: as COVID-19 impacts on health, livelihoods, and wellbeing of all people around the world, the UN Under Secretary General - Emergency Relief Coordinator called on international community for a recovery package of USD90Bn necessary to support 700 million extremely vulnerable people around the world. In light of the inherent benefits of using cash assistance in the response to COVID-19, there is a potential for a large proportion of this aid to be delivered through such assistance.
Purpose and objectives: this is a rapid country review aiming to identify the best ways to fast-delivery of these cash transfers by
(i) prioritising reasonably actionable measures to channel the available aid towards the most in need, and
(ii) identifying a better modus operandi for an articulated humanitarian and development action to support such measures.
Methodology: is based on extensive desk review, consultations with relevant groups of stakeholders from government (MINAS and MINEPAT), humanitarian coordination, World Bank, donors, UN agencies, (I)NGOs, and Cash Working Group (CWG), and through intensive but quite broad debriefing and review process. Main limitations are determined by the very short length of the assignment (12 days) and the ongoing dynamics in each sector, with high potential for constant reconfiguration and requiring further investigation.
Key findings and recommendations: This rapid exploratory review finds that there is significant potential to scale up cash assistance to those in need in the context of Cameroon, also acknowledging the continuous humanitarian underfunding. Cash assistance currently delivered through humanitarian channels reaches about 15% of the people in need (PiN) identified by the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) updated for 2020 whereas the cash assistance delivered through the SSN roughly reaches 15% of the poor in Cameroon.
COVID-19 pandemic overlaps with other ongoing crises in (i) Far North Region, 1M people need urgent assistance and 490k are displaced, (ii) eastern regions, with over 270k vulnerable refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) and their host communities, and (iii) North West and the South West regions, with 680k Cameroonian being internally displaced, and additional 52k PiN have sought refuge in neighbouring Nigeria. No particular COVID-19 focused specific cash assistance has been developed but the complexity of challenges require constant and articulated aid to these groups.
Therefore, there is high potential for significant scale-up, depending not only on additional funding available but also on how the operations on the ground would be effectively deployed, in line with the proposed action points and the corresponding adjustments the local stakeholders should bring at operational level.
In the immediate term, there is high potential for significant scale-up, which from the humanitarian perspective, could consist in reaching with cash transfers an additional 3.3M PiN, most refugees and IDPs, whereas through the SSN system 6.9M people would be reached with cash transfers as means to alleviate the poverty and fragility they are confronted with.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.