Why consider using CVA in the COVID-19 context?
Women and girls affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in crisis and displacement contexts may face increased risk of domestic violence/intimate partner violence and sexual exploitation and abuse, in addition to and resulting from loss of income and household stress. They may resort to risky coping strategies including transactional sex, or be pressured into forced or early marriage. Women and girls may face increased costs, travel or waiting time to access sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care and services. They may be hindered from visiting their SRH care provider or gender-based violence (GBV) services due to: their additional responsibilities for care of dependents (infected relatives, older persons, children); mobility restrictions; additional costs of transport especially if public transport is suspended; other regulations such as curfews or mandatory masks.
Key Message: CVA is a tool, or modality, to address economic barriers to access SRH and GBV services or purchase necessary items. It does not replace but rather complements UNFPA’s core humanitarian programming, including in-kind support for essential items through dignity kits.
Our CO cannot procure or deliver dignity kits as we usually do. Should we provide CVA to women and older girls to directly purchase items in dignity kits or other SRH items in their local markets?
COVID-19 “Fast Track” Answer:
Consult with women and girls on their preferences and context-specific protection/GBV risks regarding purchasing their own essential items. Identify risk mitigation measures for using CVA3 , and determine which delivery mechanism4 would be the safest.
Ask women and girls if SRH/Dignity Kit non-medical items of adequate quality are available and affordable on the local market.
Ask partners in the CVA Working Group such as WFP to include those items in their market assessments and determine if they are available and at which price.
Check with the CVA Working Group whether financial service providers (e.g. bank or mobile provider) have existing coverage in the target area. Ask women (consider age and disability) if they are familiar with these services and consider alternative delivery mechanisms for some individuals if necessary
How might CVA support women and girls’ access to GBV and SRH services?
Emergency cash transfers have been shown to help women at risk of GBV or survivors of GBV escape from perpetrators, access safe housing and reduce the indirect costs related to medical care or psychosocial support such as transport.
CVA could be used to cover transport and/or dependent care costs through unconditional but labelled5 cash transfers. Women may wish to stock up on hormonal contraceptives, condoms or menstrual supplies if they will go into quarantine/physical distancing/restricted movement, but may not have money saved in order to purchase in bulk. These could be a top-up to other CVA such as multi-purpose cash being delivered jointly by different agencies, or a small amount of cash along with UNFPA dignity kits.