Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq kicked off a three-day workshop in Abuja on Wednesday for the development of Nigeria’s cash and voucher assistance policy.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, spoke at the opening.
Alhaji Ali Grema welcomed the attendees to the program, which intended to educate stakeholders on how to use Cash and Voucher Assistance in order to build a national strategy.
“This workshop is aimed at sharpening the shared understanding of the relevant stakeholders on the use of Cash and Voucher Assistance and to strategically position them to identify, design and develop an inclusive national policy that will strengthen the institutional capacity and operational environment of Cash and Voucher Assistance in Nigeria.
“It is a known fact that today Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) is rapidly expanding modalities for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria. In 2019 alone, 39 partners implemented CVA across 38 out of 61 Local Government Areas in the BAY states and this has continued to multiply in various parts of Nigeria.
“In the next three days, the stakeholders gathered here who were carefully selected in line with their mandates and relevance in the operation of CVA in Nigeria will be sharing ideas and information geared towards having a common understanding of the operating terminologies and practices associated with CVA. This will strategically prepare us to carry out the assignment of elaborating the National Cash and Voucher Assistance in Nigeria”.
Earlier, the OCHA Head of Office Trond Jenson said that one of the 7-point agenda of the Hon Minister to strengthen the humanitarian environment in the Northeast and by extension all parts of Nigeria was the development of a National policy to strengthen the operating environment for Cash and Voucher Assistance in Nigeria.
“The National CVA policy (NCVA) is expected to complement the Humanitarian Response Plan HRP, provide clarity on the use of CVA to meet needs among the poor and vulnerable and improve the operational environment for CVA uptake by overcoming bureaucratic bottlenecks. The policy is also expected to support commitments, already enshrined in other national policies i.e. the recently approved National IDP policy, facilitate financial inclusion and access to social protection among target groups”.
In her remarks, the Regional Programme Officer of the World Food Programme Natasha Frosina explained that training of stakeholders will in turn ensure accountability and transparency in the disbursement and movement of donor funds especially to the North East.
“We see Cash and Voucher Assistance as a way to empower these beneficiaries to meet their needs in the best way they deem fit.
“When we invest money through cash transfer, the beneficiaries are able to spend that money directly in the local markets, putting the money back into the hands of the people and the local producers themselves. It empowers them to decide what their needs are and not what we think their needs are”.
The workshop brought together most of the key actors and donors including UNICEF, UNOCHA, WFP, UNCHR, INGO and also provides a coordinated framework on how to deliver support to the beneficiaries.