Empowering Communities, Piloting Multi-purpose Cash Distribution in Khartoum
On April 15th, 2023, conflict erupted in Sudan resulting in wide-scale displacement and more than 25 million people in critical need of assistance. In Khartoum, rife with conflict and where international assistance is minimal for myriad reasons, many people remain sheltering in place, or moving from neighborhood to neighborhood seeking safety and resources. Given the lack of external support, grassroots local volunteers formed Emergency Response Rooms (ERRs) which have become the main avenue for assistance provision in Khartoum alongside a few remaining local organizations working to support the population. Electricity and communications such as cellular and data are intermittent, and minimal market mechanisms remain functional, though not always reliable. Of those who remain in Khartoum, many are the most marginalized and vulnerable, including women and older individuals who often do not have their own standard phone or smartphone and cannot access an operational market themselves due to safety concerns.
Despite and because of these operational hindrances, CORE teamed up with Sudanese Development Call Organization (NIDAA) and engaged RedRose (RR) and their partner Cashi, an omni-payments platform that has a 10k+ merchant network across Sudan, to ascertain whether multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA) was feasible in Khartoum as a means of complementing ERR activities. The consortium determined to pilot the delivery of MPCA to 600 households in two of the most conflict-impacted neighborhoods in Khartoum: Burri and Aljiriaf. These neighbourhoods were chosen for the pilot because one is a largely static population while the other is displaced, thereby affording greater learning.