ECHO CCD Consortium Digitizes Multi Purpose Cash Assistance in Ethiopia
Through collaborative work of several NGOs the adoption of LMMS Digital ID card sufficed the need – in this unique context – for a digital ID Card that would be accepted as a form of identification by Financial Service Providers (FSPs) and banks alike.
In the CCD Ethiopia One Year In – Collaboration In Reality outlines how the NGOS collaboration on this large scale program.
In March 2019, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) funded a €4.4 million multi-purpose cash assistance(MPCA) project in the Wollegas zones of the Oromia region and the Somali West region to support drought affected households and persons internally displaced (IDPs) due to conflict. The consortium consists of five CCD members, with activities allocated to different organisations based on each member’s expertise.
In the Wollegas, WVE administered digital beneficiary management, SCI oversaw monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL), and ACF and IRC managed cash transfers, including registration. All agencies collaborated on how to harmonise targeting processes. In Somali West, SCI and WVE were responsible for cash transfers and IRC managed MEAL.
NGOs and United Nations (UN) agencies conducting cash programming in Ethiopia’s humanitarian sector have stated that the country is unique in its context. Through the collaborative work of the CCD consortium members, the digital identification from Last Mile Mobile Solutions became accepted by Financial Service Providers (FSPs) and banks, with many FSPs coming on board to accept this form of identification too.
This did not only improve the processes and cost efficiency for this consortium, but it will improve the cash ecosystem beyond this project and is a necessary step towards allowing digital payments and mobile money. CCD was looking for digital systems to share data in a fast, secure way.
CCD believes in an approach that brings actors together to collectively define problems within a context and create a shared vision to solve them.
Through consortia: Before CCD Ethiopia even had a Governance Framework or MoU in place, they were labouring towards this goal. In March 2019, the first CCD consortium was funded by ECHO. This consortium was able to use the weight of their collective voice to advocate with FSPs and banks to accept digital identification from Last Mile Mobile Solution® (LMMS), rather than requiring agencies to provide separate paper identification, which requires duplicative, time-consuming work for the agencies. Once one FSP agreed, others also readily agreed in order to remain competitive. This did not only improve the processes and cost efficiency for this consortium, but it will improve the cash ecosystem beyond this project and is a necessary step towards allowing digital payments and mobile money.
SHARED CAPACITY AND POOLED RESOURCES
Currently, actors in humanitarian crises duplicate programmatic activities, compete for funding, and subcontract the same service providers. This is a deeply inefficient model.
CCD endeavours to develop models where capacities are amplified and shared and resources pooled between members for greater operational efficiency.
Shared technologies: CCD is looking for digital systems to share data in a fast, secure way.
LMMS was used by the ECHO-CCD consortium by NGOs and was developed by World Vision.
Ethiopia’s CCD members are committed to digitalising beneficiary management and moving towards e-payment systems, such as mobile money, e-vouchers, and/or bank transfers, etc., to harmonise practices and be more cost efficient.
“I had farmland, goats, and I was leading a good life. I lost my brother and my property and was left destitute due to the conflict. We arrived here with nothing to eat or feed our children.“
HALIMA, BENEFICIARY, ECHO-CCD 2019 PROJECT
Halima is an IDP living in the Somali region. She fled intercommunal conflict with her mentally ill husband and 7 children two years ago. Receiving cash assistance has given her freedom to buy what she needs most, food for her children.