Some 33,000 Syrian refugee families in Lebanon are supported by UNHCR's multi-purpose cash assistance program (MCAP). As part of a global basic needs approach, UNHCR MCAP helps families meet their basic needs with safety and dignity though the provision of cash. Assisted families have access to cash through an ATM card and PIN number that can be used at ATMs across the country. Each month, families receive an SMS that their card has been loaded with an amount equal to US$ 175.
Using innovative methodologies and ensuring the highest standards of data protection, UNHCR is able to assist the poorest, most socio-economically vulnerable families. An econometric model was developed using data from the annual Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees (VASyR). Using expenditure as a proxy for poverty, and by applying the model to UNHCR refugee data, refugee families are scored and ranked according to their predicted expenditure. Families that have a monthly expenditure below the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB) of US$ 87/capita/month are classified as Severely Vulnerable and eligible for MCAP. The 2019 VASyR reports that over half the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon are living below the SMEB.
With such a large population in need and with limited resources, UNHCR targets the poorest families in each area of operation in Lebanon (Mount Lebanon, Bekaa, North Lebanon and South Lebanon).
Humanitarian cash actors in Lebanon, including UNHCR, are currently able to support around 40% of the severely vulnerable population leaving a large portion of the eligible population unassisted.
UNHCR outcome monitoring (OM) serves as one of the main methods for monitoring the effects of MCAP on refugee families.