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Feasibility study on CVA in Tigray Region, Ethiopia_October 2023

14 November 2023 — By Syed Mohammed Aftab Alam & Yilkal Asabu

The two years of conflict in Tigray has fueled a large-scale humanitarian crisis and resulted in loss of livelihoods and widespread food insecurity of the population especially Internally Displaced Populations and agrarian communities in the region.
The crisis affected the livelihoods of the communities, loss of lives, livestock, destruction of shelter and infrastructures including water points, schools, health facilities, etc. Furthermore, in some areas people faced several failed rainy seasons (el-Nino affect) and the humanitarian needs continue to be dire.
Plan International launched a feasibility assessment of Cash and Voucher Assistance and adopted a mixed data collection tools, which were qualitative focus group discussion FGD and Key informant interview (KIIs) and quantitative approaches through questionnaire survey. Accordingly, the assessment finding indicate that the humanitarian needs in the crisis affected communities are dire. The conflict induced crisis coupled with natural disaster fueled food insecurity, water shortage, failed rainy season, disruption of livelihood options, loss of assets, shelter destructions, lack of access to WASH, lack of access to menstrual health hygiene, shut schools and inaccessibility, lack of Child Protection /Gender Based Violence and MHPSS services etc. Respondents during Focus Group Discussion in G/Mekeda (Rigbay Medebay Kebele) expressed in a local language as‘’Nafenya zeyrekeba zkurtems nriesen shash mtemtem’’-This expression emphasizes their top priority/need is food (food insecurity problem) and the other needs are to be met only after solving food insecurity issues.
Thus food insecurity was the major need and challenge they encountered, which is triggered by the low productivity, lack of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, improved seeds, related agricultural tools and alternative income sources
Generally, respondents indicated that out of these problems encountered the crisis affected communities, food insecurity was found to be the key need which has a multifaceted impact on the lives of the communities. Two market centres (one primary and one secondary market) were considered for this assessment and following conclusions were derived:
• There is a functional and regionally integrated market with sufficient supply of goods and services in the target areas. It is critical that markets are able to supply the goods and services that people need, that people can afford them and people are able to get access to those markets.
• Vendors, wholesalers, retailers and FSPs are willing to participate in the Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA), price is set by the owners/vendors/wholesalers/retailors and they don’t display price of items they sell;
• There are cash programming efforts in the region implemented by different humanitarian organizations including PIE (Plan International Ethiopia), Red Cross, ICRC, Action Against Hunger (ACF), FAO, World Vision, and managed to address crisis affected people (with experiences in implementing CVA programming). However, the case load is huge, the humanitarian situation continues to be dire;
• There are different financial service providers which are fully operational and accessible.
• The primary need of the crisis affected communities were identified as food and wheat, barely, sorghum, teff, maize and millet cereals are the communities prioritized cereals/food items.
• The purchasing power of the crisis affected people is very low and most of the people couldn’t afford accessing basic services except the humanitarian assistance provided to them including Cash provided by a few humanitarian organisations, and in-kind assistance from government and individual philanthropists.
• Child protection issues were overall observed including separated children, school dropout and low enrolment rate in the area.
• The feasibility study found cash and/or voucher or even mix modality to be highly feasible in the areas.