Responsible Use of Digital Cash-based Assistance in Refugee Crises
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the number of refugees has constantly increased over the last decade. It is estimated that there are currently (Aug. 2021) more than 21m refugees worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance. Most refugees live in environments where they have access to markets and services in the same way that local communities do. Providing refugees with cash – also known as “cash-based assistance (CBA)” – enables them to fulfil their needs in a dignified manner and contributes to the local economy.
DigCBA contributes to the responsible use of digital CBA in the refugee crisis. Digital technology, including mobile money, electronic vouchers, electronic cash, and recently blockchain-based systems, is transforming CBA. The technology has the potential to increase access to financial resources and services during times of crisis while increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of assistance.
DigCBA aims to support the selection and the use of the most feasible and suitable digital technology for delivering CBA in the refugee crisis. To this end, the project seeks to correlate different potential technologies with:
- First, the contextual characteristics of refugee locations (for example, data infrastructure conditions) and the connection to the refugees’ preferences, their technology access and digital literacy
- Second, the relative readiness and acceptance of CBA actors (such as donors, humanitarian organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)) to adopt, to implement and use the technology in target locations.
DigCBA’s objective is to develop a set of evidence-based frameworks to assess the contextual characteristics, evaluate the readiness of actors, and prioritize technologies for CBA. It takes a stakeholder-centred approach focusing on the needs of beneficiaries, policymakers of CBA actors, and business partners.
DigCBA is coordinated by UiA, in collaboration with NTNU, Hanken School of Economics, WWU Munster, and Makerere University Business School.