Barriers to the access and use of cash assistance after disaster does not only come in the form of physical barriers. Attitudinal barriers, like social stigma in the community or within the family, institutional barriers, including challenges to opening a bank account to access cash assistance, and communication barriers may prevent women, persons with disabilities, older persons or persons from cultural minorities to equally access and benefit from cash transfers.
Common barriers in cash transfer programs are:
Physical and communication barriers
- Lack of accessible technology used in money transfers through mobile phones or ATM cards (e.g. printed-only PIN numbers and non-accessible screens or ATM).
- Physical barriers in distribution points and markets (or authorized vendors in case of voucher distributions. Including: lack of accessible transportation, steps, narrow doors, inaccessible toilets.
- Complex or inaccessible information about registration processes and delivery mechanisms.
- The assumption that persons with disabilities are unable to manage cash or that cash is inherently too risky for persons with disabilities.
- The assumption that persons with disabilities can only access cash or vouchers through intermediaries.
- The assumption that in cash for work programs, persons with disabilities can only perform less-demanding tasks.
- Complex, inaccessible or discriminatory administrative and registration procedures in cash transfer programs.
- Inadequate or discriminatory scoring systems for beneficiary targeting. The lack of inclusive targeting criteria, as well as the exclusive targeting of selected groups may create disadvantages for at-risk groups).
- Complex, inaccessible or discriminatory policies and process for financial services.
To make cash transfers more inclusive:
- Persons from at risk groups and their representative organisations are consulted and participate in decision making and the implementation of cash transfer programs.
- Barriers, patterns of exclusion and protection risks, which may limit different at-risk groups to access and use cash assistance are understood and addressed.
- All aspects of the cash assistance programs are made accessible for different at-risk groups, including women, older persons, persons with disabilities or person from cultural minorities (incl. targeting, community meetings, communication, cash delivery mechanism).
- Cash recipient data is disaggregated according to sex, age and disability.
- During needs assessment women, men, girls and boys with and without disabilities are consulted.
- Households where the heads of household/the main breadwinner is a person from an at-risk group (women, older person, persons with disabilities, child or youth (minor)) are equally included in cash transfer programs (at a minimum their share of the beneficiary population equals their proportional share in the target community).
- The cash delivery mechanism (cash-in-hand, bank transfer, mobile transfer etc.) are fully accessible, to ensure persons from at-risk groups can access cash assistance equally, safely, freely and independently.
- The cash transfer value considers additional specific needs of persons with disabilities, older persons, pregnant and breastfeeding women and other persons from at-risk groups may have in addition to basic needs. Consider: medical or dietary needs, additional cost for transportation to reach cash distribution points and markets, cost of replacement of lost or damaged assistive devices.
CBM, Programme guide for disability-inclusive cash and voucher assistance in humanitarian action, 2019
UNHCR, Guide for Protection in Cash-based Interventions, 2014