The current study aimed to gain a comprehensive understanding of SEV from the community’s perspective and to assess the targeting practices implemented by cash actors in Lebanon. It demonstrated that, according to the community, HH size had an impact on vulnerability, but that that depended on its composition.
The study also found that beneficiaries do not have a clear understanding of the selection process. Moreover, some of them believed that there were inclusion and exclusion errors embedded in the process. Agencies can make use of the current study to assess HHs who appeal or those who are being qualitatively evaluated for inclusion. Furthermore, some beneficiaries revealed that community members might implement significant coping strategies such as debt and dependence on assistance in order to cover their basic needs. Should agencies plan to mitigate the impacts of these strategies, they will need to investigate these strategies and their implications further.
When choosing targeting methodologies, agencies need to take into consideration the context, the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of these tools, and, most importantly, the potential risks implied. However, they should also consider the input of the targeted population. Through this study, the community proved to be a reliable source for defining vulnerability, which they perceived as a dynamic construct where multiple variables can act as either contributors or ameliorators. To date, agencies have not shared the targeting formula with the community nor with field staff, and this ambiguity is causing understandable frustration among the community. This frustration is exacerbated when refugees detect HHs who are of less need of assistance but receive it nonetheless. The trade-off between sharing the formula and allowing for corruption should be revised, as the community has the right to know how and why households are chosen for assistance.