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Case Study

Cash Coordination in Poland: Early lessons learnt from the humanitarian response for Ukrainian war refugees

December 2023 — By Michael Meskhi

This thesis was submitted for obtaining the Master’s Degree in International Humanitarian Action. By submitting the thesis, the author certifies that the text is from his hand, does not include the work of someone else unless clearly indicated, and that the thesis has been produced in accordance with proper academic practices.

The prominence of cash coordination in humanitarian responses has grown significantly in recent years. This paper explores the coordination of Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) within the context of the Ukraine crisis, particularly the role of the Cash Working Group (CWG) established in Poland, co-chaired by UNHCR and local NGO Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH). The aims to assess the achievements and challenges of MPCA coordination within the CWG, highlighting its contribution to the overall effectiveness of cash distribution. In particular, the paper delves into multifaceted aspects of cash coordination including previous contributions relating to technical and strategic dimensions of cash coordination.

The study finds the CWG in the Poland response demonstrated interesting novelties. The most notable appear evident in the CWG’s leadership, structure, and coordination process, while also acknowledging challenges in terms of participation. Nonetheless, the coordination uncovered concrete challenges with regards to high turnover rates, missing linkages with national social protection system, limited representation of local actors and data inputs which requires attention to improve overall coordination. Notwithstanding the ad hoc process and challenges its leadership and member organisations faced, the CWG’s efforts brought added value and led to a tangible impact on the overall effectiveness of a MPCA programming during the refugee response in Poland.