The scope and complexity of the Syrian crisis has catalyzed a massive humanitarian response across the region, including the unprecedented scale-up of unconditional cash transfer programming to respond to the largely urban refugee crisis. With limited global practice and guidance on programming unconditional cash transfers to enhance protection in an emergency context, the current research was undertaken. Specific research questions included: Does the combination of cash transfer, GBV case management, and gender discussion groups increase women and girls’ safety and reduce negative coping mechanisms? Does cash assistance exacerbate protection risks? How can we improve existing tools and processes to better measure vulnerability or resilience to GBV? How can we strengthen monitoring tools and systems to measure the protection outcomes of cash transfer projects and GBV services?
The research utilized qualitative methodologies beginning with a desk review of existing literature on cash and protection in humanitarian contexts and IRC’s program-related documentation, including assessments, project proposals, case management forms, and post-distribution monitoring reports. Other qualitative data collection included focus groups (n=72) and in-depth interviews (n=19). Findings from the research indicate that resilience to GBV is supported by receiving both cash transfers and women’s protection and empowerment services, rather than cash alone and that receiving cash and attending the Gender Discussion Groups can result in a decrease of IPV and domestic violence. Beneficiaries report that the skills acquired through participating in these psychosocial services enables them to cope positively with changing dynamics among family members. Women feel stronger, confident, respected and able to negotiate. Men and women feel listened to and report fewer arguments and conflicts over money leading to a reduction of violence in the home.
The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.