The Emergency cash interventions carried out in Kadavu Province for TC Harold response, constitute the largest emergency cash-based programme Post TC Harold that was made possible with a strongly of F$100 per households and an additional F$50 for every households that has any persons with disabilities across the nine Districts in the province.
The monitoring process was primarily executed to inform ongoing programming. It included quantitative data collection (surveys), supplemented with qualitative monitoring (in-depth interviews) to allow for programming had been used in Fiji at scale, donors requested a comprehensive monitoring system, something that food assistance and other types of aid in Fiji have not been subjected to in the past.
Because of the geographical location and lay out of the islands, Kadavu is amongst the most complex environment for delivering humanitarian assistance. Security concerns mean that agencies often work from stakeholders and the larger humanitarian community.
ADRA having strong community based relevant previous experience of cash programming in Fiji in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare, this being a rare opportunity targeting and conducted on the provincial level scale. The debate about the appropriateness of large-scale cash interventions caused some active delays, but it also forced ‘pro-cash’ agencies (those with previous experience) to articulate and cash-based responses). This enabled actors with experience of cash-based interventions to share learning, debate issues and reach conclusions and local context evidenced based best practice together. This process larger humanitarian community.
At the inception of the programme the challenges and risks associated with successful aid delivery in remote management. environment for cash interventions: it has an innovative, local system of supporting local markets and households. The market system is highly integrated and competitive as the island relies heavily on imported food, so availability is rarely an issue. Prior to implementation most items were available in most markets, local shops and canteens but households lacked the income to purchase them. This was mainly due to the fact that it after TC Harold it took a while for kava to be uprooted as access to the drawe (farms) were impossible as tracks were inaccessible because of fallen logs, debris and minor landslides.
In fact, despite the significant security and access challenges faced by the agency, Kadavu is an appropriate environment for cash interventions: it has an innovative, local system of supporting local markets and households. The market system is highly integrated and competitive as the island relies heavily on imported food, so availability is rarely an issue. Prior to implementation most items were available in most markets, local shops and canteens but households lacked the income to purchase them. This was mainly due to the fact that it after TC Harold it took a while for kava to be uprooted as access to the drawe (farms) were impossible as tracks were inaccessible because of fallen logs, debris and minor landslides.
While there were some specific contextual factors that enhanced the ability to utilize cash transfers as a mode of intervention, there is much to learn from the Kadavu experience. Food assistance (and other types of interventions) have not been subject to the same level of monitoring as the CVA programme, so it is difficult to know how this programme compares on issues such as targeting error, accountability and ease of delivery. However, it is clear that cash programming upheld to different standards in terms of both monitoring and targeting than food assistance. Given the high level of need at the start of the intervention, blanket coverage was the most appropriate response. Although there were considerable difficulties during implementation relating to access, security and the sheer volume of transfers required, the process of cash and voucher delivery was relatively smooth. Appreciation and thanks largely to the previous experience of agencies and the role played by the Turaga ni Koros and Provincial Office networks to support delivery.
In terms of impact, there is strong evidence that the cash and voucher interventions enabled households to purchase food, increase the number of meals consumed each day and increase dietary diversity whilst waiting for government's food assistance, flood waters receding back into the sea and clearance of tracks in the forest. Importantly, there is evidence that the intervention also allowed households to repay debts, support children attending boarding schools with food, sending mothers and babies to nearby health centers for checkups and to receive injections, older people for their medication replacements, support families in the island while access to the market in Suva for kava sales were put on hold because of the lockdown and many more. This also contributed specifically to re-building household resilience helping to align and better position locals in the face of adversity. The cash intervention also improved the social standing of beneficiaries enabling them to participate in community alms in providing donations to church and village commitments for which they were previously recipients.
In summary, the monitoring system was beneficial to the organization in three ways:
It helped identify practical implementation issues in a timely manner, which allowed ADRA to make changes to the cash and voucher delivery process. This included increasing the number of distribution points to reduce travel time for beneficiaries; improving the service at distribution points to reduce beneficiary waiting time; increasing the transfer value; changing the value of cash distributed based on market price information; and managing operational issues brought to agencies’ attention through the feedback mechanism.
The monitoring system also highlighted larger issues about targeting, diversion and reliance on gatekeepers, which would not have been picked up without the qualitative data collection. These issues are important for understanding the working environment and to helping us recognize and mitigate potential risks on their programmes.
It provided evidence of and impact with beneficiary households as a result of the interventions.
Good programme monitoring is necessary to ensure that programmes are informed for future similar interventions. The feedback from sampled beneficiaries will form the basis for informed decision making on the need and appropriateness of CVA used at scaled up and replicated, in both Response and immediate short to long term recovery assistance to affected communities in Fiji. It is therefore recommended that cash-based responses be considered along with in kind during humanitarian assistance to affected outer islands in future. It is also recommended that a well-coordinated effort should be made from beneficiary selections, market assessments, consideration of delivery mechanism and implementation with a robust monitoring process throughout the CVA Project duration.