The use of Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) in emergencies has been rapidly increasing in recent years – with continued uptake by local and international NGO’s as well as UN agencies including the WFP, UNICEF and UNHCR. Interest amongst many of the major institutional donors is also on the rise, as highlighted in the recent Grand Bargain pledge to increase the use of CVA during emergencies. However, the speed and effectiveness of cashbased responses – especially when they are intended to be taken to scale - depends in large part on preparedness. Preparedness measures for CVA may include identifying and vetting financial service providers for cash delivery, capacity building for staff, analysis of supply chains and market trends, mapping of existing social protection schemes, raising awareness and gaining buy-in from governments, as well as other activities
However other Pacific island governments, UN agencies and NGOs remain largely unprepared to conduct CVA at scale in support of rapid, effective humanitarian responses.
Additionally, the Pacific context is highly varied and further investigation is required on the acceptance, appropriateness, and feasibility of cash-based initiatives on a country by country (and even an island by island) basis.
In 2019, INGO’s in Solomon Islands came together under the Australian Humanitarian Partnership to invest in a Cash Transfer Feasibility Study. In collaboration with the National Protection and Livelihoods committee the study examined the current state of CVA preparedness. The final study report was released in early 2020 and includes specific recommendations to improve CVA preparations across different sectors. Many of the recommendations require concerted, co-operative effort to achieve and ensure Solomon Islands agencies are able to implement CVA programming.