Cash and voucher assistance that works for women: 6 lessons from the field, October 2019
A BRIEF FROM MULTI-COUNTRY STUDY "WHAT DOES GENDER-SENSITIVE CASH AND VOUCHER ASSISTANCE LOOK LIKE?
What did we seek to change?
Cash and voucher assistance (CVA) is now a common tool in humanitarian action, used to meet the diverse needs of people displaced by crisis and conflict with greater dignity.1 While there is a growing body of evidence on the effect of CVA on women’s well-being and empowerment2 , in practice, an overwhelming amount of gender-sensitive CVA is currently designed using assumptions rather than evidence. Building on CARE’s commitment to be ‘cash ready’ to achieve breakthroughs with and for women and girl, CARE commissioned a study on gender-sensitive CVA that allowed actual CVA recipients to frame the discussion.
Why were we interested?
Three key issues motivated this research: (1) CARE’s ambition is to ensure that its CVA work is designed with and for women and girls, addressing their needs, challenges, and opportunities. (2) In line with this, CARE is strengthening its research, evidence, and knowledge management capacities. (3) The organization is also committed to convening others to improve policy, practice, and research on gender-sensitive CVA.
To achieve this ambition, we need to start by changing the top down approach the sector uses to design research about gender-sensitive CVA. The humanitarian community knows more about the impact of CVA on sectoral outcomes than we do about women’s and men’s perceptions of how its design and implementation actually support their needs, those of their families, and those of their communities. Collecting evidence from a user’s perspective will consequently change the way in which we use the evidence. For example, evidence suggests that the named recipient of the CVA can influence control of the transfer and access to information, but targeting women does not on its own mean that CVA is gendersensitive (and, in some cases, this approach may even exacerbate protection risks).