ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES FOR COMMUNITIES IN CRISIS (ARCC III)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
AVSI DRC, in coordination with Catholic Relief Service (CRS) and Mercy Corps, is implementing the program ARCC III (Alternative Responses for Communities in Crisis), funded by UNICEF, UK Aid, the Japanese end Canadian Cooperation and European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
Based on the use of different cash-based approaches, it aims to provide humanitarian assistance to populations in emergency situations. The program’s objective is to gather data and evidence of the effectiveness and benefit of these approaches according to different contexts and sectors. AVSI DRC is implementing this program in South Kivu, an Eastern Province in DRC.
DRC is a main example of a protracted emergency. The humanitarian situation in the Province of South Kivu remains difficult, characterized by cyclical internal displacement related to several factors including armed conflicts, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters.
In 2016, the situation in Eastern DRC is still characterized by multiple waves of displacement and return movement.
In recent years, the number of families who decided to return to relatively stable areas has increased.
After more than 15 years of emergency humanitarian assistance, it is now clear that the responses to the vulnerabilities arising from crises experienced by South Kivu populations must move to new approaches. Although research has shown the limitations of standardized assistance and activities based on direct distribution, the transfer of cash and delivery of vouchers are still a relevant alternative in DRC. This approach allows beneficiaries to choose for themselves what are their needs and households’ priorities.
ARCC III is an UNICEF multipurpose cash assistance program. When local markets are sufficiently dynamic to use cash as a tool of assistance, AVSI and partners can intervene with an unconditional cash transfer approach. This is a more appropriate way to respond to the specific needs of returnees, internally displaced people, and their host families.
The total amount transferred to each family is calculated according to the value of different goods and services. This mixed basket varies in the different territories and includes essential non-food items, school and health care fees, basic food stock and some productive tools (in order to support Income Generating Activities).
The cash transfer approach gives responsibility to beneficiaries and gives them freedom to choose products that are most appropriate to their needs. This has fostered remarkable spontaneous economic initiatives.
The objective of ARCCIII is to improve the well-being and strengthen the resilience of 109,000 households. It also aims to explore and gather evidence about the effectiveness and feasibility of scaling up the use of multipurpose unconditional Cash-Based Response (CBR) in Eastern DRC.
The expected results are:
– Improved household access to essential items, such as food, health, education and housing;
– Increased access to assets, income and livelihood;
– Reduction of deficient strategies used by households;
– Ensure that ARCC III program contributes to strengthening social cohesion and peacebuilding activities (in collaboration with Search for Common Ground – SFCG).