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Guidelines and Tools

Cash for Work: Standard Operation Procedures

2022 — By Emergency Livelihoods Cluster (ELC) - Iraq

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is one of the largest, with the fastest displacement rate since 2014. Vulnerable population in Iraq include both the recent and long-term displaced, those who remained in conflict areas, those who returned to newly liberated areas (NLAs), and communities hosting displaced. All aspects of life have been disrupted for those affected by the conflict, including access to healthcare, education, income opportunities, safety, and security. According to an Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimation, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq now stands at 1,224,000 people at the end of 2020, while nearly 2 million people require humanitarian assistance (UN-OCHA 2020). To support vulnerable individuals, livelihood actors have significant expertise in providing cash assistance through emergency livelihood and social safety-net programs. This includes cash for work that aims to mitigate the impact of crisis for affected persons/families.

Emergency Livelihood Cluster partners in-county promote cash for work interventions in their humanitarian response and recovery efforts. With the growing importance of cash assistance in Iraq and the need to speed up assistance, improve its effectiveness and facilitate monitoring processes, it is crucial to have an agreed Cash for Work (CFW) daily wage rate to support livelihood cluster members in harmonizing their efforts. The Emergency Livelihoods Cluster strategy is designed to help conflicted-affected people cope with the impact of a crisis, improve social cohesion, and reduce tensions that lead to violence, secondary displacement and forced returns. Following this strategy, livelihoods partners’ first objective in responding to the needs of vulnerable communities is to help replace lost assets, especially income-generating ones, and generate urgent cash income for highly vulnerable families in priority locations. Areas that are a high priority for intervention have a high possibility of social tension. Cluster partners will target 159,106 people in need, focusing on newly displaced and people in protracted displacement, host communities, highly vulnerable resident families and returnees depending on their specific situation and the local context.

One of the critical programs livelihoods partners are implementing is cash for work (CfW) to help destitute families in some of the country’s hardest-hit areas. Livelihoods partners and communities have found utility in these programmes. They offer income that beneficiaries can use to meet their basic needs while decreasing social tensions and necessary repairs and maintenance of community and private facilities. With partners often providing CfW opportunities near each other, observed and potential challenges necessitated the production of standard operating procedures. Some challenges include varying wage rates offered by different organizations, selecting beneficiaries where there are limited financial resources that cannot reach all that are in need, gender barriers and cultural limitations on certain types of work, and others addressed in this document. Partners collaborated to produce standard guidelines for use by organizations implementing CfW projects. After the cluster endorses these Standard Operating Procedures, partners are encouraged to implement CfW projects accordingly.