Mercy Corps: Rapid responses to movements of populations through cash based programming

Eastern DRC has faced a crisis for over twenty years and humanitarian needs remain acute. A combination of persistent armed conflict, forced and prolonged displacements, epidemics poor governance and poor service delivery have fostered high vulnerability within the population. Providing multi-sectoral assistance will helpp address the diversity of needs in communities in crisis, especially those of displaced people. SDC's contribution to Mercy Corps (MC) is specifically earmarked to provide assistance through unconditional, multi-purpose cash transfers. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Democratic Republic Congo
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR

Material relief assistance
Primary health care
Water sanitation
01.08.2017 - 08.06.2018
CHF 1'040'000
Background The living conditions of civilian populations of eastern DRC have seen no improvement over the past years. The security situation has deteriorated in recent months and there is little hope that this will change any time soon. Clashes between armed groups, or between the Forces Armées de RDC (FARDC) and armed groups, have induced massive displacements of civilian populations; ther are currently over 860'000 internally displaces people (IDPs) in North Kivu, 80'000 more than last year at the same time; South Kivu hosts an additional 400'000 IDPs. Increased animosity between  certain groups of populations is also leading to indiscriminate killings, abductions and burnt villages. This increases the vulnerability of populations caused by poor governance, poor access to quality service delivery, and lack of livelihoods. It also futher exposes them to abuse and human rights violations. 
Objectives The overall goal of the project is to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable children and theri families, victims of crisis, or in the post-cirsis situation by providing multi-sectoral assistance for essential goods and services, education and protection, quality health, in a timely and efficient way. 
Target groups This project primarily targets recently displaced populations, as well as host communities and returnees, of eastern provinces of DRC (mainly in Masisi, Walikale and Rutshuru territories, North Kivu; but possibly also Kalehe territory, South Kivu, depending on needs and population movements). It aims to reach 136'571 beneficiaries by providing multi-sector assistance, including 20'400 beneficiaries of cash programming through SDC funding. 
Medium-term outcomes

The project as a whole has 4 main objectives:

  1.  The living conditions of the most vulnerable populations have improved by accessing essential goods and basic services;
  2. The most vulnerable children and theri families are protected by being integrated in schools and other protection activities;
  3. Mortality and morbidity of the more vulnerable children and their families is decreased;
  4. The most vulnerable households benefit from a timely and effective assistance.

When apporpriate, MC responds to those needs by providing multi-purpose cash assistance. In this regard, the objective is:

  1.  The most vulnerable populations, victims of displacement/return (of less than three months), have access to an appropriate individual assistance that enables them to respond to their essential needs, to access basic services and to diversify their livelihoods. Cash-based interventions are therefore perceived as a transversal approach to cover multi-sectoral need. 

Expected results:  

  1. 41'990 persons area assisted with Non-food Items (direct distribution of NFI fairs) and multi-purpose chash interventions;
  2. 50'250 persons benefit from water, hygiene, sanitation (WASH) activities: 50 chloration points are setup, 45 water sources rehabilitated, 400 latrines rehabilitated;
  3. 11'250 persons benefit from education and protection activities: 20'000 are aware of child protection risks in situations of displacement, 17'640 vulnerable children are reintegrated into school;
  4. 12'500 persons benefit form health activities, including 485 antenatal care and assisted deliveries, 75 victims of SGBV with proper medical care, 2'298 children screened for malnutrition;
  5. 20'400 persons are assisted with multi-purpose cash interventions through SDC funding. 

Results from previous phases:   MC hast distributed USD $275 million through cash-programming in 27 countries. In Eastern DRC, MC has implemented similar projects form 2013, including with support from SDC (phase 1 of the current project). During phase 1, 4 distributions were implemented with SDC funds, reaching 3'151 households: through its vulnerability assessment tool, MC was able to assist individual households according to their needs, freeing up funds to assist more vulnerable households than targeted (2'640). Phase 1 confirmed that unconditional, multipurpose cash transfers are an effective modality to respond to the immeadiate needs of populations touched by conflicts, but also to strenghten  populations' resilience, reduce protection risks and spur early recovery by regenerating local markets. 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Humanitarian aid
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Other partners
Medair and Danish Refugee Council for activities that do not involve cash transfers. 
Coordination with other projects and actors Private sector services providers (Mobile Network operators, bank and microfinance institution); Humanitarian coordination system: Comité de pilotage RRMP, relevant cluster, UNHCR Reinstallation Pillar, Cash working group; Local authorities and community based organisation; Security coordination fora: INSO, OCHA. 
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   1'040'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   946'865