Pilot project survey reveals Venezuelan families’ struggles, how they use cash benefits during double economic-COVID-19 crisis
World Vision Venezuela Crisis Response, September 2020
Today the average Venezuelan is being crushed under the weight of a double-crisis: a catastrophic economic collapse and a global pandemic. Even before the COVID-19 prevention measures took effect in March 2020, more than 5 million people had fled the country seeking a more promising future for their families. And most of those who stayed home were struggling to afford even the most basic necessities, like food, healthcare and their children’s education.
In March 2020, a family of 5 needed about $237 per month to buy enough food to stay healthy. By the end of April, the national monthly minimum wage was the equivalent of $3.08—enough to buy about a kilogram of rice.
Today, more than 6 months into the health emergency, the outlook for millions of Venezuelans remains bleak.
But there is encouraging news. During this period of unprecedented challenges and struggle, World Vision and three of our primary implementing partners in Venezuela piloted a $75,000 multipurpose cash assistance program among 800 families in five states—Anzoátegui, Carabobo, Miranda, Zulia and Distrito Capital. The multipurpose cash-transfer program provided about $30 monthly to each family for three months.
After completing the pilot, World Vision and our partners conducted a post-cash distribution survey of 282 households and 53 merchants to find out how recipients used the money. The results confirm trends that had been unfolding for years among the most vulnerable in Venezuela. But the detailed insights also reveal how deep the food and health deficiencies go for so many families.
Highlights of the post-cash distribution survey:
The vast majority of households used the cash to buy more food (nearly 97%), and diversify the types of food (about 80%), meaning they likely do not normally have adequate nutrition for the whole family;
70% of respondents are women;
Of all households surveyed, 80% said they cope with lack of resources by buying lower quality products and limiting portion sizes at meals. And 70% of all households also said they have reduced the number of meals they eat per day, and even the adults have resorted to eating less so their children have enough to eat;
Meat is not widely available or affordable—only 1 in 4 merchants surveyed offers some type of meat;
Nearly 59 percent of families reported increased food consumption among the children in the household because of the cash;
Nearly 40% of households surveyed currently do not have anyone working and 20% of households have no source of income;
Nine out of 10 households have children among their members;
Most children are living either with both parents, their mother only (some cases with father only) or their grandparents.
Most (60%) have 5-8 members living in the house, but 10% has more than 8 people;
The purpose of this post-cash distribution survey was to better understand how Venezuelan families are coping with the crisis and how they used the cash received through World Vision and our local partners. However, the findings also reveal areas of severe or increased vulnerability among children. All of this will inform our work as we scale our cash-based programming to reach thousands more families inside Venezuela in 2021.
The full post-cash distribution report is available upon request.
Fabiola Rueda, Strategy and Programs Manager, World Vision Venezuela Crisis Response Email: Fabiola_rueda@wvi.org
Chris Huber, Communications Manager, World Vision Venezuela Crisis Response Email: email@example.com