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Gender-based violence (GBV) is a pressing concern for forced migrant and refugee women, girls, and individuals with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or sex characteristics (SOGIESC). They face exposure to and incidents of GBV before, during, and after a humanitarian crisis. Humanitarian actors use a variety of approaches to prevent, mitigate, and respond to GBV, yet evidence gaps remain in informing comprehensive program models that improve the lives and protect the rights of GBV survivors as well as individuals at risk of GBV.

As a complement to core aspects of GBV case management, preliminary evidence finds that cash and voucher assistance (CVA) may strengthen survivors’ capacities to recover from GBV and enable access to services. For example, CVA can help a GBV survivor to pay the costs associated with fleeing an abusive relationship, such as temporary accommodation and transportation, and to access legal assistance. There may also be indirect pathways in which CVA could be used by survivors and individuals at risk to reduce their exposure to GBV, such as decreasing their financial dependence on abusive partners or family members, and shifting power dynamics in intimate relationships.

As an alternative to traditional in-kind assistance, CVA has become an increasingly common tool across humanitarian response sectors to meet the needs of those displaced by crisis and conflict. In 2019, approximately 18 percent of humanitarian assistance globally was delivered via CVA, and this proportion continues to grow. Despite a push by several humanitarian actors to increase the use of CVA within the protection sector to support protection outcomes, including to support the prevention of and response to GBV, CVA is the least used for protection outcomes out of all sectors.

CVA has yet to be consistently considered in GBV programming for displaced survivors, and humanitarian actors have yet to systematically integrate CVA. As the use of CVA in GBV programming has not been robustly evaluated in humanitarian settings, not only is there limited evidence on the effects of CVA in GBV programming, but key aspects of CVA still need to be elucidated for safe and effective implementation, such as delivery mechanisms, frequency, value, and duration of transfers.

WRC has aimed to understand more about the specific dynamics of GBV case management and cash referrals for forced migrant, refugee, and host national GBV survivors, as well as to identify how best to address the needs of GBV survivors by including multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) within a package of response services. Building on existing findings and tools, WRC, in conjunction with CARE Colombia and a national partner, CORPRODINCO, piloted an intervention from June 2021 to January 2022 to assess the integration of cash assistance into GBV case management to support survivors in forced migrant, refugee, and host communities in Ocaña, Norte de Santander, Colombia. Drawing from a quasi-experimental mixed methods study, this report summarizes the quantitative and qualitative findings and lessons learned from the joint program and evaluation over four months in support of CVA integrated into GBV programming, and shares recommendations for the way forward in this context