Community Engagement and Accountability in Cash Transfer Programming: A Best Practice Example from Madagascar

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This case study documents how community engagement and accountability approaches were integrated into the emergency phase of a pilot cash based intervention programme in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo in 2017, and the benefits this had for the program.

In March 2017, Madagascar was badly affected by Cyclone Enawo. The cyclone caused flooding across the country including in the capital Antananarivo. More than 400,000 people were affected in eight regions, with 80,000 people displaced. As part of the response, Danish Red Cross (DRC) supported Madagascar Red Cross Society (MRCS) to provide unconditional cash grants to cover the basic needs of people living in informal settlements in Antananarivo. The project was funded by the European Union Dinika project.

Mobile money was selected as the most appropriate way of delivering the assistance, which comprised of:

60,000 MGA to 1299 people in May 2017
(approximately 18€ / 20 USD)

160,000 MGA to 495 people in June 2017
(approximately 47€ / 51 USD)

Although MRCS and DRC had a long-term development project in this area, this was the first time MRCS and the communities had experienced a cash based intervention (CBI). MRCS themselves had concerns about the impact of the cash transfer in the community, where the daily wage ranged from 1000 to 5000 MGA. For this reason, special focus was given to ensuring good community engagement and accountability (CEA) and monitoring and evaluation within the programme to ensure the pilot’s success.

This case study documents six best practice examples of how community engagement and accountability can be integrated within CBI to enhance quality, impact and community acceptance.

These are;

  • Explaining selection criteria and distribution processes

  • Training volunteers on how to share and collect information from communities

  • Working with local authorities

  • Responding to rumours, feedback and complaints in the community

  • Community workshops to explain unconditionality and cash purpose and budgeting

  • Allowing communities to share their experience and learning with each other.