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Scale Right: Coordinating Improved Cash Assistance in Greece

2016 — By Neetu Mahil

Europe is still reeling from the largest refugee crisis it has experienced since World War II. During the first half of 2015 Greece saw an average of 3,000 refugees arriving daily by sea onto the island of Lesvos. While the number of new arrivals—fleeing war in Syria, conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere—into Europe through Greece has ebbed significantly since the closing of the Balkan route and the Turkey-EU deal on March 20th 2016, Greece now faces new challenges in meeting the needs of populations who await asylum in Greece, relocation to another European country, or face voluntary repatriation.

These challenges come at a time when Greece continues to struggle economically. NGOs have stepped in to deliver blanket cash assistance across an increasing number of refugee sites in Greece since May 2016.  As organizations plan to enter a new phase of scaled response, this research report takes stock of implementation thus far, documents lessons learned throughout implementation, and considers design options for a coordinated and coherent cash approach across NGOs, including planning for eventual handover to the Greek national social welfare system.

This research documents current NGO cash implementation capacity and coverage; identifies lessons learned from existing implementation; identifies design feature recommendations for coordination, communication and harmonization between potential partners through a consortium or alliance approach; and identifies how a cash consortium or alliance might partner with UNHCR and the government.

This review focuses on the use of cash assistance for meeting basic needs (food, shelter, household items) for all beneficiary profiles, including households (HHs), single men, single women, or unaccompanied minors (UAMs).