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Joint Cash Feasibility Assessment: Overview - February 2018

Following eight years of conflict in Northeast Nigeria, the region is experiencing significant humanitarian needs. Approximately 1.5 million people were internally displaced across Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States as of the start of 2018, and in Borno State, the area most heavily affected by the crisis, 41% of the population reportedly faced critical food insecurity situations as of March 2017. In response to the crisis, humanitarian actors have sought to provide vulnerable populations with assistance through both in-kind distributions and cash-based assistance. It is within this context that the Cash Working Group (CWG), supported by REACH, have conducted an assessment in order to determine the most appropriate modality of humanitarian assistance in a number of locations in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States. These locations were chosen based on CWG member organisation interest and data collection capacity. This assessment builds on the approach developed in November 2017 for a REACH and Food Security Sector assessment to determine the most appropriate food assistance modality in the town of Konduga. The assessment targets both IDP and host populations in the assessed towns, and focuses on food items, NFIs, firewood/fuel, and shelter repair materials, based on CWG member requests.
The assessment used a mixed methodology approach in order to gather different types of data from a range of sources. This section provides an overview of the methodology, although a more detailed description can be found in the Terms of Reference for the assessment.4 Data collection for this assessment took place from 1-16 February. The focus of the assessment was on two main areas: understanding consumer household aid modality preferences along with access to items, markets and cash; and evaluating the ability of market vendors to respond to an increase in demand. These two segments of the assessment included the following data collection tools in each assessed location: Consumer households: • Structured household interviews (approximately 210 per location) • Structured Bulama (traditional community leader) interviews (approximately 15 per location) • Household focus group discussions (FGDs) (4 per location: 1 male and 1 female FGD each for IDPs and host populations) Market vendors: • Structured vendor interviews (approximately 30-60 per location depending on market size) • Semi-structured head of trader (informally chosen market spokesperson) interviews (1-3 per location depending on market size) • Vendor FGDs (1-3 per location depending on market size) For each assessed location, data from household interviews has a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 6-9% depending on the location. All other data is indicative rather than generalisable. Following data collection, a Joint Analysis Workshop was held, in which REACH and CWG member organisations analysed the assessment data and agreed upon recommendations for each location. Findings and recommendations from this assessment apply only to assessed villages/towns, and cannot be generalised to other parts of assessed LGAs, or to other areas outside these LGAs.
Key findings: 
Amongst assessed areas, the ones where cash-based assistance was deemed to be most feasible were Michika and Gulak in northern Adamawa State and Askira in southern Borno State. These locations had accessible markets, well-developed market systems, heavy household reliance on markets and low reliance on in-kind aid to source items, and a relatively unimpeded ability to restock from Adamawa State. • The assessed location facing the most challenges to the implementation of cash-based assistance was Dikwa. Households in Dikwa reported a heavy preference for and reliance on in-kind aid, and most stated that they felt unsafe storing cash in their shelters or carrying it when walking in the community. In addition, market vendors reported extensive challenges in restocking goods from Maiduguri due to the security situation along the road from Maiduguri to Dikwa and the inability for vehicles to use the road except in a military-escorted convoy. The requirement to use a military-escorted convoy also applied to other towns in Borno State, including Damboa, Gwoza, and Pulka. This reportedly caused restocking challenges in these locations as well, although seemingly not to the same extent as in Dikwa. • In general, the main reasons for households reporting a preference for cash-based aid, and unrestricted cash in particular, related to flexibility and freedom of choice. This included the freedom to choose preferred items or brands, the freedom to allocate expenditures between different types of needs (e.g. food, NFIs, health, education), and the ability to save cash for times of greater need. Reasons for preferring in-kind aid were more varied, although concerns about family members using cash for non-essential needs, insufficient and poor-quality goods at markets, and price fluctuations and price gouging were among the more common reasons cited.
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Date(s): 
18 Feb 2018
Report completed
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
REACH Initiative
Participating Organization(s): 
Save The Children
International Rescue Committee
Cash Transfer Programming