The ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has on Wednesday trained 66 Stakeholders in the development of Cash and Voucher Assistance Policy.
At the opening in Keffi, Nasarawa state, the Minister who was represented by the Deputy Director, Disaster Management, Dr Suleiman Abubakar welcomed the participants to the training, aimed at educating stakeholders in the use of Cash and Voucher Assistance towards the development of a national policy.
The minister said, “This workshop is aimed at sharpening the shared understanding of the relevant stakeholders on the use of Cash and Voucher Assistance and to strategically position them to identify, design and develop an inclusive national policy that will strengthen the institutional capacity and operational environment of Cash and Voucher Assistance in Nigeria.
“It is a known fact that today Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) is rapidly expanding modalities for the delivery of humanitarian assistance which has moved from the fringe of the humanitarian response to the mainstream.
“In the next two days, the stakeholders gathered here who were carefully selected in line with their mandates and relevance in the operation of CVA in Nigeria will be sharing ideas and information geared towards having a common understanding of the operating terminologies and practices associated with CVA. This will strategically prepare us to carry out the assignment of elaborating the National Cash and Voucher Assistance in Nigeria”.
“This was reflected in the Grand Bargain commitments made by donors and international organizations in 2016 to increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming’ in humanitarian responses. As a result, donors, humanitarian agencies, and governments have continued various degrees, examine and shift how they plan, fund, and coordinate humanitarian responses to help ensure that cash transfers are used when they are the best tool”.
“It is against this phenomenal growth in the use of CVA in humanitarian interventions that the policy is being designed to provide a robust friendly environment for CVA operators as well as outline/clarify alignment between the cash related social protection programmes and humanitarian cash programmes, she said.
Earlier, the OCHA Head of Office Trond Jenson who was represented by Ms Uche Njoku said CVA programming has been on a steady rise between 2017 and 2023 in Nigeria, humanitarian actors continue to use the modality because of its potential benefits to beneficiaries, and it has therefore seen positive developments despite institutional, programmatic and infrastructural challenges.
He said, CVA offers opportunities to deliver an accountable response, providing dignity and flexibility to people in need. Given the trend towards longer-term protracted humanitarian crises, cash has also been recognized for its role in supporting local economies and linking humanitarian assistance to longer-term assistance and social protection systems in various countries.
“Cash transfers have been increasingly adopted by some countries as key elements of national poverty reduction and social protection strategies”.
“Today, we are faced with complex challenges that not even one of us, or the very institutions we represent, could ever solve on our own. This includes the impact of the recent Naira scarcity on operations and programming. While the greatest impact has been on the operational ability of organizations, it is highly concerning that all cash activities have been somehow affected and this includes the effect on beneficiaries”.
“We expect people to become more vulnerable as a result of this and look forward to the result of the Cadre Harmonise. Meaningful and constructive dialogue between all of us today is essential to solving common problems and building a brighter future for so many people who depend on us, he said”.
In his remarks, the program policy Officer who represented the World Food Programme country Director in Nigeria, David Stevenson Programme Officer of the World Food Programme said the workshop brought together most of the key actors and donors including UNICEF, UNOCHA, WFP, UNCHR, INGO and also provides a coordinated framework on how to deliver support to the beneficiaries.
“We see Cash and Voucher Assistance as a way to empower these beneficiaries to meet their needs in the best way they deem fit.
“When we invest money through cash transfer, the beneficiaries are able to spend that money directly in the local markets, putting the money back into the hands of the people and the local producers themselves. It empowers them to decide what their needs are and not what we think their needs are, he said”.
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