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Concern Universal / World Food Program UPPER RIVER REGION CASH TRANSFER PILOT

Project Post Distribution Impact Report December 2012


Contents BACKGROUND

4

MONITORING OBJECTIVES

4

METHODOLOGY

4

USE OF MONEY Local shop keepers and vendors Food products purchased Wholesalers

7 8 8 9

NUTRITION The breakdown of food items purchased by beneficiaries

9 10

GENDER

11

SAVINGS Indirect savings – by stores and wholesalers

11 12

AVAILABILITY OF FOOD

12

WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF CASH WAS NOT RECEIVED?

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COMPARING CASH WITH FOOD

15

CASH – ENOUGH/NOT ENOUGH

16

CHANGES IN PRICES

17

OTHER POSITIVE AND OR NEGATIVE CHANGES AT HOUSEHOLD LEVEL 17 POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE CHANGE IN THE COMMUNITY

17

CONCLUSION

18

Partners


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Background to the post distribution monitoring Background The decision to introduce an unconditional cash transfer in the Gambia was taken by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Country Office in the Gambia. The necessary Emergency Operations (EMOP) budget review was conducted and approved by the Deputy Executive Director (DED) following the recommendation of the Project Review Committee (PRC). The full cost of this cash transfer pilot was USD$527,409. The districts of Jimara and Tumana were chosen by WFP and approximately 20,000 beneficiaries were targeted. Both these districts are in the worst affected areas covered by the EMOP. The WFP country office decided to engage Concern Universal as its implementing partner and subsequently a Field Level Agreement (FLA) and the Operational Plan (OP) were developed.

distribution list that indicated the amount due per person and total household entitlement. All beneficiary cash distribution forms were ‘signed-off’ by the officials (CU and The National Associations of Cooperative Credit Unions of the Gambia (NACCUG)). NACCUG was identified as the micro finance institution (MFI) who directly distributed the cash to beneficiaries, with the intention of any unclaimed funds returned to WFP. The cash was given by the MFI on presentation of a valid identification card. Failure to collect the cash within the collection period, spanning five consecutive days, would result in nonpayment as there were fixed days for the disbursement in each of five locations. Cash directly replaced food distributions on the grounds that local markets were working sufficiently well to enable families to buy food themselves.

Monitoring objectives • The key objective was to compare

the impact of cash and food transfers on beneficiary households’ food and livelihood security and on the local economy.

The amount of cash allocated to the cash distribution was equal to the local market value of the WFP food ration, taking into consideration average seasonal market price fluctuations in the area. The total transfer value amounts to GMD284 per beneficiary per month, approximately $9 USD. Cash transfer directly replaced food distributions on the grounds that local markets were working sufficiently well to enable families to buy food themselves. This was the first time for WFP to carry out cash transfers in the Gambia, although Concern Universal and its partners did have previous experience with cash transfers for emergency responses.

Methodology

For the Cash distribution mechanism, WFP transcribed the cash-beneficiary household head’s name, identity card number, and household size (provided by local government officials – National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA)) onto a beneficiary cash

The approach of the study was a participatory one that randomly (but using conscious criteria) selected 10 communities out of the 82 covered in the cash disbursement exercise in Jimara and Tumana districts in Upper River Region. The rationale was to obtain

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• A wider objective was to learn how best to determine the feasibility and appropriateness of cash-based programmes in emergency foodsecurity response. • To assess the impact of the introduction of unconditional cash transfers in Jimara and Tumana districts instead of GFD for the months of October and November 2012.


results that represented a range of culture, ethnicity, religion and locations. The study was conducted by a team of experienced field workers who have basic grounding in various disciplines and were acquainted with multi-disciplinary facilitation team (MDFT) approach to community work with emphasis on an understanding and cultural sensitivity to the various ethnic groups in order to enhance reliability of the data collected. The methodology also looks at: the design; the process of data collection; analysis and the interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data. From the sample of 10 villages 50 male and 50 female household beneficiaries were approached for interviews and discussions in a mix of semi structured interviews and focus groups. In total 200 out of the 2528 recipients households were interviewed (7.9% sample). The exercise was carried out within one week after each of the two cash transfers with a sample of 100 households. The survey also covered the following: community leaders (10), store keepers (30), wholesalers (3), health workers (5) and banks (3).

This approach had always separated male from females and or youth.

Data Processing, Analysis And Interpretation Coding of the data collected was done according to the broad topics expressed in the checklist. In addition there was classification of information into gender, similarities in view, cultural background, language and ethnicity. Density tables were created to tally references and make comparisons according to location, gender etc. Quotes and case studies were noted and included where they illustrated important findings. The results are presented in the following section of this report.

Limitations Although the monitoring exercise has been generally seen to be successful by many of the partners in the cash disbursement, the following points recognize limitations of the survey: • Limited sample size (8%).

The main tools used in collecting and analyzing the data are as follows. • Random Sampling: villages and households were randomly selected from a list of beneficiary villages and households. • Focus Group Discussion: this brought the beneficiaries of a household together in a sizeable group interview led by a moderator who facilitated a loosely structured discussion of various topics of interest guided by a checklist. The checklist guided the moderator to make sure all topics of interest have been covered. Moderators also recorded their own observations which assisted to triangulate interview results. • Semi Structured Interviews: this is the face to face interview of men or women beneficiaries. The same checklist was used as for focus group discussions.

• The mass sensitization carried out before the disbursement where communities were encouraged to use the cash income for purchase of food needs may have resulted in a distortion of results with interviewees wanting to conform to a specific mindset. • Fluency in local language by the moderator was not always possible – particularly in the Sarahulle communities of Gambisara and Julagel • Timing; the time given for exercise was short considering the sample size • Little time (up to two months only) had elapsed since the cash disbursement had been conducted. • Some beneficiaries may not have been comfortable in disclosing household’s information for fear of losing the subsequent round or future cash disbursement.

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Thumb print instead of a signature. Jimara, the Gambia

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The Results “Cash is the best way of fighting hunger. I feel happy that this cash transfer is helping to do that.” - Female recipient of cash transfer The findings from the post distribution monitoring are presented in the following sections: • Use of money • Nutrition • Gender • Savings • Availability of food • Comparing cash with food transfers • What would have happened if there was no cash transfer? • Was the cash received enough? • Other changes

Use of money: “Before the cash transfer, we had no food in stock for the family - my husband struggled daily in search of food for the family. He got support from his relatives in Basse. In fact my husband went up to a point to pledge his only horse cart as collateral to the shopkeeper just to ensure there is food available for the family. Now with this money we bought coos, rice and oil and the balance of money was also used on daily bases for family needs for example food c ondiments and lunch for the children

going to school.” – Female recipient of cash transfer

Table: Use of cash transfer at household level Use of cash October transfer at household level

November Average

Purchase of food 98% items for family

80%

89%

Purchase of non food items (in addition to food items)

20%

15.5%

-

-

11%

Did not purchase 2% any food

The main reason given for the bulk of the cash spend on food by beneficiaries is that they have little or no other food stuff for their three square meals. This was confirmed by the observation that at the time of cash disbursement many farmers in URR had not yet finished harvesting their cereal crops which are often use for their daily meals and the majority of them are subsistence farmers. Cash distribution provided to households created a multiplier effect in the communities. It impacted on the lives of the beneficiaries directly while the shop keepers (retailers) and the local producers at community level as well as wholesalers have benefited indirectly through increased spending by beneficiaries. In other words, it has brought more life to business at the community level which has had a direct and noticeable impact on the growth of the local economy. Looking at the beneficiaries use of money, cash transfers enabled them to make a wide range of choices with regards to the different food or other items to buy for daily consumption. This freedom of choice is the opportunity the cash transfer have given them – a choice which is not the case for traditional WFP food distribution because it limited them to only rice and cooking oil (which also does not give a balance diet – discussed later). Almost all recipients used the cash transfer to purchase needed food items for the households (89%). However, some beneficiaries (15%) used the cash to purchased both food and non-food items. Non food items included: school bills; maintenance of farming implements; school uniforms and medical bills and raw materials for production. Most of the beneficiaries are subsistence farmers. A percentage of beneficiaries spending their cash in purchasing non-food items represented an investment in other priorities and was not unexpected given the current harvesting of farm produce are in high gear meaning that most household were confident they would soon have their own food available again. In the first phase of the transfer 15% of

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the beneficiaries interviewed bought non food items which increased to 20% in the second distribution.

Local shop keepers and vendors “I can now earn a lot (good business) in my village from the people who are now coming to buy my food stuff. Initially, because of the food availability (from WFP) I find it my business difficult to succeed� - Male, Shop Keeper Shop keepers close to the distribution centers had increased sales that led to a positive increment in their savings and rise in their purchasing power for stocking. The availability of major food items in the shops at village level was high at the time and following cash distribution. This was possible because shop keepers were able to buy in bulk from the whole sellers in Basse which was in the past sometimes not the case. Most of the retailers at the villages reported that after the first cash transfer, they have instantly restocked their shops as another round was on the way the following month. As a result commodities were bought in large quantities including rice, cooking oil and onion due to the very high demand from customers. They see this as a boost to the growth of their business.

products including groundnuts (59%), millet (76%), maize (65%), vegetables (38%), eggs (26%) and fresh cow milk (74%). In the second transfer 31% also bought fruits and 12% chicken where none had spent on these items in the first distribution. Purchase of onion and sugar increased during the second distribution. These products are available in large quantity, are cheap and popular. Some households buy and keep these food products for long term consumption especially when there is shortage or high increment in the price of rice in the shop. Other food stuff like fruits (oranges and bananas) and chicken are also purchased by beneficiaries this has shown change trend with regards to increase in choice and range of purchases as these items were not purchased by any of the beneficiaries in the first phase. Table: Food products purchased by % of recipients Food Item

Percentage Who Purchased This Item

October November Average

Rice

100

100

100

Oil

100

100

100

Salt

100

100

100

Fish

86

92

89

Millet

65

86

76

Vendors of local produce at the distribution sites also realized growth in their businesses and profit margin. Some of the food items sold was bananas, boiled potatoes, cooked snacks, and bread and beans. The number of vendors in each distribution site has increased compared to the first distribution. For example in Sandi Kunda in the first phase, only one butcher sold meat but in this second round two butchers sold meat and they slaughtered four bulls plus two goats - all was sold before noon. This was the case in other distribution centers.

Milk

71

72

74

Maize

73

56

65

Meat

62

66

64

Groundnut

52

65

59

Sugar

58

100

79

Onion

47

100

74

Bread

31

42

35

Vegetable

37

39

38

Beans

31

39

32

Fruits

-

31

-

In addition to the purchase of rice, sugar,

Eggs

27

24

26

-

12

-

onion, oil and salt (all 100% of recipients), many also purchased locally produced food 8

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Chicken


Local traders came to sell their products outside the distribution site. The cash transfer benefits more than just those individuals who receive it. 2nd site Gambisara, the Gambia

Wholesalers The wholesalers, mostly based in the regional centre Basse, also have their share from the cash transfers through the shop keepers from the villages who purchase from them. All the wholesalers interviewed asserted that there has been a great amount of increase in their business within a short period although they did not provide numbers. They attributed this to high demand of food stuffs especially the major ones in the surrounding villages. This can be attributed to the cash transfer that brought a change in the purchasing power of the beneficiaries in particular and the community in general.

Nutrition “With the cash I had, I was able to purchase other cereals (coos, millet and maize) to pound and prepare into local method of preparing food which my family enjoys better” – Female cash transfer recipient A good balance diet leads to good nutritional health which is a prerequisite for a healthy life. Balance diet is very important for everyone, but it is especially important for children because it is directly linked to all aspects of their growth and development; factors which will have direct ties to their level of health as adults. The impact of the cash transfer on nutrition was explored in the interviews.

All beneficiaries of the cash transfer reported that they have experienced an increase in their nutrition as a result of the cash transfers. However this finding is difficult to confirm from this question alone as many people in URR are not aware of what a nutritious meal is composed of. Other evidence does show a greater diversity of diet. For example fish was purchased by 92% of recipients along with eggs (27%). Vegetables (39%) and fruits (31%) and beans (39%) are evidence of improved contribution to nutrition. As reported earlier, 80% of the cash received by the beneficiaries was spent on food. We examined the frequency of responses to purchase of different foodstuffs to indicate whether or not recipients were using the cash transfers for nutritional improvement / balanced meals. All the female household heads interviewed asserted that there have been (100%) increase in the nutritional value of their families diet as they are more informed on nutrition issues than men. Besides it‟s them who do the food preparation so it’s easier for them to notice any changes in food nutrition. This is further reaffirmed by the different food items purchased by all the beneficiaries. The table below show the breakdown of the various food items purchased.

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Table: The Breakdown Of Food Items Purchased By Beneficiaries Food Group

Food Item

Percentage Who Purchased This Item

Carbohydrates

Rice

100

Millet

86

Maize

56

Sugar

100

Protein

Meat

66

Fish

92

Groundnuts

65

Milk

76

Eggs

27

Chicken

12

Beans

39

Vitamins

Fruits

31

Vegetables

39

Onion

100

Fats

Oil

100

Iodine

Salt

100

Others

Bread

42

“If there was anything that was sold like hot cake during the cash transfer days then it was meat� - A butcher in Sandi Kunda The findings indicate a wide range of food items purchased (rice, meat, oil, fish, millet, groundnuts, milk, salt, beans, and vegetables etc.) the combination of which has the potential to result in a balanced diet. 100% of recipients used the cash transfer funds to purchase staple foods in the form of carbohydrates. The most popular was rice (100%) followed by millet (86%), maize (56%), and sugar (100%) and bread (42%). Protein foods were purchased by recipients includes fish (92%); Milk (76%); Meat (666%); Groundnuts (65%); beans (39%) eggs (27%) and chicken (12). Protective 10

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or vitamin rich foods were purchased by less than half of recipient households and included: Vegetables (39%) fruits (31) and Onion (100%). 100% of recipients purchased oils and salt. In confirmation of these findings, all five (5) health workers interviewed in the various distribution points reported that there has been a positive nutritional change in the beneficiary communities. The key to good health lies in maintaining balanced food nutrition.

Entrepreneurial cattle owner slaughters 2 cows and sets up shop opposite the distribution site... he sold everything and so he slaughtered another one!! People were most excited about being able to eat meat for the first time in months. 2nd site in Jimara: Gambisara


Gender “After I received the cash I called all my family members and showed them and together we decided what to buy.....” - Male who received D1988 for his family

interviewed (50%), said they were consulted on what to do with the cash received. Unfortunately, opinions were not sought on how many of the non-participatory decisions were accepted, and if partners (wife/husbands) were happy with the decisions. Also, out of the 8% that said decision was non-participatory, again there was an even split of 4% each by gender. In some areas, there was evidence that households were happy that the male head of house made the decision on what to buy as he is the traditional head of the household. One woman said: “I am quite happy and comfortable with my husband making the decision on how cash should be utilized knowing that he would always think about the family”. Only in one case did a beneficiary report gender based conflict or disagreements as a result of the cash transfer going to male household heads: “…previously when food comes we all feed on it, but when my husband received the cash, he did not buy anything for the family and he neither informed anyone about the issue of cash. He even went further not talking to me at some point. We have been quarrelling since he has received the cash, and as a wife I have to „cool‟ my temper as I have grown up children.” - Female member of Sandi Kunda village

2nd site in Jimara: Gambisara

Cultural norms undoubtedly influenced power and decision making dynamics in households. Findings indicate that 92% of respondents said that decision on the use of the cash received was participatory, whilst the rest said it wasn’t. It was not clear was how many of the respondents of the 8% that said it wasn’t participatory were not happy with the consequences of the lack of consultation. The findings also showed that of the 92% that said the decision on the use of cash was participatory, 49% were women. Which indicated that almost all of the women

Some reported that the cash transfer has also reduced conflict in the household since in most cases where conflicts arises between wife and husband when there is nothing or insufficient food in the house.

Savings “After spending the greater part of what I received on major food items (rice, millet, oil, onions, jumbo and sugar) I left D350.00 for daily fish money. We could not save anything from it as there was food scarcity in the home” - Male cash transfer recipient in Bagadagie village

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GENDER/SEX

SAMPLE SIZE

SAVING

NO SAVING

Men

50 Households

1

49

Women

50 Households

3

47

25

0

3

0

Men

25 Storekeepers

Men

3 Wholesalers Suppliers

Only four of the recipients reported that they made savings from the cash transfers. Out of these four, one is a male and three are females. The general finding is that only 2% of recipients used some of their cash for savings. The cash kept by households are intended to be use to buy nondurable food items of immediate need.

Indirect savings – by stores and wholesalers “This for me has resulted in an increased in saving.” - Male wholesaler in Basse The bulk of the money has been used directly at the local stores and local village market. 100% of the local store keepers said there was an increase in sales generally and particularly on food products. This was substantiated by the wholesalers interviewed, who confirmed that there was an increase in demand from the local stores particularly on food items. This finding was confirmed by the Banks interviewed. This was another level were saving was noticed and that has been confirmed by the banks, all the banks (100%) that were interviewed said there was an increased in cash deposit in their banks particularly from wholesalers.

Availability of Food “Being a farmer, I have enjoyed a booming business from the sale of my farm produce after the cash transfer, I have escaped the exploitation of the middlemen who normally reap off most of the benefit” The question on ‘availability of food’ was whether food was available for respondents at community Household heads

Men

Women

Total as Percentage

Food available

49

50

98%

No food available

1

0

2%

level during and immediately after the cash transfer or whether there had been any distortion of the normal functioning of markets after the cash transfer. The findings shows that 98 %( 50 are females and 49 for men) of the beneficiaries asserted that food was available while 2% said food was not available (1 a male respondent). But in the first phase the view of respondents were not sought on this question so there were no percentages. Basically, recipients of cash transfer spent a greater percentage of the cash received (80%) in purchasing food stuff, helping them to protect consumption levels. Based on this it appears clear that food items were available in adequate quantities. Store keepers and vendors were able to respond to the increased demand for rice, cooking oil etc. According to the wholesalers interviewed in Basse, the retailers in the surrounding villages where the cash transfer was done were in Basse to buy food items in bulk and in larger quantities than normal - which they attribute to the sudden rise in the purchasing power of the locals (beneficiaries). Furthermore, some cereal crops in the region such as maize, millet and groundnut are already in the market cultivated by the local producers in the various communities. These cereals are used 12

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Jimara - The Gambia.

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as supplementary meals in the region and 86% of recipients purchased millet and 56% purchased maize. Also, fresh cow milk is in its bumper season which makes its availability in large quantity as well as cheap in price which enable most people buy it on daily basis. 76% of the beneficiaries purchased milk. There were no reports by beneficiaries that they were not able to make purchases due to shortage of supply or inadequate supply. Also there is high likelihood that more food will be available in the beneficiary communities for the coming months as many households have harvested their farm produce. Note: The views of beneficiaries were not sough on this question in the first round.

What would have happened if cash was not received? Table: Coping strategy if no cash transfer provided Apart from the big applaud for the cash as a dream come true, majority of beneficiaries had

Household Beneficiaries Coping Strategies

Men October

Women November

Average

Sales of Assets/ Items Taking Loan/ Credit Others

43% 33% 24%

16% 29% 56%

29.50% 31% 40%

reported the hardship of the struggles to meet the food needs of their families. In October at the time of the first cash transfer just under half (43%) said they were going to sell their assets to buy food for their families while by November this had dropped to 16% indicating recovery in their livelihood situation. Other groups said they were going to take loans (33/29%) from relatives, local storekeepers, and or Community Based Organization‟s Funds at community level. 56% reported other strategies listed below. This percentage has increased compared to the first PDM report which was 24%. • mortgage other household valuables such as farm implements and carts; • offer their services or labors to other well off members in their villages or surrounding communities on payment;

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• Rely entirely on remittances in either cash or kinds from both within and outside their villages. • Reduce their ration e.g. instead of three meals a day we will give two meals a day. • Fetching firewood to sell to other people in the community An interesting gender difference in strategies was that more men opted to take loans while most women preferred to sell off their jewelries, soliciting support from their relatives or even offer their services on hired basis.


Comparing Cash with Food “During the first cash transfer, I preferred food to cash because I thought that the cash was not going to give me enough food for me and my family. But now I have noticed that with cash I am able to buy other items as well as take care of other domestic obligations.” - Male cash transfer recipient. Table: preferences for cash of food transfers among different groups Respondent Type

Prefer Food

Prefer Cash

Beneficiaries

13%

87%

Community leaders

11%

89%

Community Health workers

0%

100%

The majority of people interviewed prefer cash transfers to provision of food. Community leaders and health workers were 100% behind cash transfers. Among beneficiaries 87% preferred cash while 13% preferred food. Families commented that rice and oil were not the only necessity in the family as well as in preparing meals.

Prefer cash transfers Households prefer cash because it will give them the choice to purchase other items which support household and livelihood maintenance. Families expressed that rice and oil were not the only need of the family even though they have been hit by the impact of the crop failure. They now have the choice to take care of the family in a more natural manner. One couple mentioned that coming from the distribution point carrying rice and oil made them look like beggars coming home. There were references to a sense of an inferiority complex within the community whenever they received rice and that this had greatly impacted on their pride and dignity. By contrast receiving cash was empowering for them. 89% of community leaders enquired have also

expressed their preference and satisfaction with the introduction of cash to that of food. One of the benefits mentioned was that distribution of cash was more ordered and in the past there had been chaos during distribution periods (either in communities or distribution points) with men and women running around looking for carts and donkeys/ horses to borrow to help in carrying their stuff. Other families will even have to rent carts which usually cost them money. But now people will only have to ride their bicycles to collect their cash at the same time preserving their dignity. 11% prefer food based on the fact some male do divert part of the cash for their personnel use. It had been affirmed by the community health workers that cash would give better value. Health workers feel that providing cash gives the opportunity to balance the diets as opposed to the rice and oil that was previously given.

Prefer provision of food 13% of the beneficiaries reported that they preferred food instead of cash. Out of those that preferred food, 7 were women. The reasons given by the women were: • Men would usually not use the whole amount of the cash for the household maintenance; instead they will prefer using part of the cash on their personal use (e.g. repair of cart and farm tools) which may not directly benefit them at that moment. • Further movements and higher transportation costs also imposed higher transactions for consumers in purchasing food. • The quantity of food that could be purchased with the cash transfer was less than what was usually given during food transfers. For example in a particular focus group discussion, some couples expressed that during the food distribution that they would usually get about two and a half bags

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of rice with some liters of oil. But now with just 1420 for example, they cannot have the same amount of rice and oil for their families. Note: this was not confirmed by our own observations: The average dalasi amount transferred was D2998 which can buy 3 bags of rice.

Cash – enough/not enough Response October November

Average

Amount Received Enough

36%

15%

26%

Amount Received Not enough

64%

85%

75%

Not surprisingly, when asked the question of

whether the amount received was enough, there is a high notion that cash will never be enough for anyone. It was based on the fact that there is a reflection of more beneficiaries (85%) expressing that the cash given was usually not enough to provide food for the family for at least one month, as household numbers are usually larger than the threshold criteria. The reasons given related to the intention to strive to allocate cash for a particular person or household wants and then comparing this to the family sizes, there is always a tendency that “not enough” will always be a response. Considerable number of those interviewed claimed that the cash given was not enough to take care of food and other household needs. However, some families (26%) did acknowledged that the cash was going to be enough to take care of the family needs. They mentioned that priorities need to be set in order to achieve the maximum use of the amount provided. Again, this is supported by the fact that most these families have already harvest their crops so they spent a greater percentage of their cash on services such as school and medical bills and hire of labor.

Changes in prices Jimara - The Gambia.

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• 76% of respondents said there was a


change in prices (increases) • 24% experienced no change. Note: The percentages for changes in prices are the same for both months. A key concern of cash transfer programs is to monitor whether or not the cash transfer is leading to increases in local prices which risks undermining the buying power of the cash transfer. A majority (76%) of respondents said there had been some increase in prices. Some of the items where price changes were reported were rice, sugar and meat. It is however interesting to note that despite these reported increases, it‟s observed that in some distribution locations, rice and meat actually ran out, and in one instance the shopkeeper had to dash to main town Basse, for restocking of his rice. Food items that realized no change were; oil, eggs, salt and vegetables. Our own observations in shops and markets as well as interviews with store keepers did not report any change in prices other than normal inflationary pressures that would have been present without the cash transfer.

Other Positive and or negative changes at household level Responses included: in the findings, it is stated that, 100% positive changes occurred at household level while 0% negative changes occurred. • Families celebrate for the availability of food at households levels particularly for children, • The elderly are equally moved by the improved peaceful co-existence in marriages as most husbands who benefited from the cash are now able to meet the basic needs at their families, particularly with regards to food.

• There was one case where it had endangered the peace of the most needed relationship between husbands and wives. • Another major change at the house hold level is the increased access to local products such as ground nuts, vegetables and milk • Ability to meet school demands such as books pencils and lunch. • There is also a mark improvement in the supply of labors at households’ levels as people don’t have to walk around in search of food. • Another major change at the house hold level is the increased access to local products such as ground nuts, vegetables and milk.

Other positive and negative change in the community

Positive Change

– 100%

Negative Change

– 0%

In our community if there is no sound of children playing in the village we know that families are hungry. Following the cash transfer we can hear children playing in every compound. - Community leader 100% reported positive other benefits in the community from the cash transfers. Concerns were raised that import-based food aid, especially rice, can distort local markets. By contrast cash transfers strengthen the local market and there were strong arguments for cash-based interventions. Once cash was given the local markets flourished, allowing small traders to run to the big markets to stock

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their stores, producers to earn increased income, traders and vendors to sell more.

the case in URR), cash transfer is preferred by beneficiaries.

Another benefit was that food served was tastier due to the variety of foods in the meal compared to previous months relying on provision of rice and oil. Some reported that conflicts in household have reduced to some degree with the reduced tension on meeting basic needs.

• Another major advantage of the programme over the general food distribution was the speed and relatively low cost of delivery and higher percentage of beneficiaries receiving their benefit in a given month - 97 and 100% respectively.

Finally, it has lead to the booming of local business and new business being created (For example: A blacksmith that did not use all of his money on food items, purchased some materials and equipments with some of the money to revitalized his „blacksmith‟s venture). He said this will provide for him and his family a sustainable income stream.

Conclusion As a new approach to respond to emergencies in the upper river region, cash transfers have been seen to be more effective as people who are identified to be food poor have a variety of options and the opportunity to provide a balance meal on the food table. • In areas where markets were functioning and accessible (as was

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• Cash transfers have many multiplier effects in the local economy supporting local produce, trade and livelihoods. • There was a relatively low spend on vitamin foods. With the support of a health worker, sensitization can be done on the importance of vitamins (vegetables and fruits) in improving health in the subsequent cash transfer. But despite this the cash transfer undoubtably contributed to a more diverse and nutritious diet. • More research can be done on the gender aspects of decision making on the use of cash transfers.


Waiting in line. Jimara, The Gambia

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Upper River Region Cash Transfer PIlot