Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Methods to Find Appropriate Recipients

One of the biggest challenges we face is the identification of appropriate recipients.  I put this challenge to a few friends who have worked in humanitarian aid for, likely, over a combined 30 years between them.  According to them, there are many methods out there for identification, some of which can be found among the plethora of cash transfer resources found on the Cash Learning Partnership website.  However, they suggested three ways for Give Aid Direct to test its model in the pilot:

1.    School Based Beneficiary Identification
In Kenya, the school is a key partner in community development and support programs. It plays a key role as an entry point for development organizations; as well as a service delivery point for community programmes such as health (health education and promotion, immunizations and vaccinations, growth monitoring etc). In many communities, the school is also utilized by community members for non-educational activities such as local administration meetings (Chief’s Baraza), agricultural trainings etc.

The head teacher, teachers, parent teacher committees (PTAs) could play a very useful role in beneficiary targeting for Give Aid Direct. They are a respected and wise source of knowledge of community needs, specifically priority needs. The local government and traditional leadership also hold schools; and teachers and parent committees in high esteem. They can identify the neediest cases based on:
§  Absenteeism – is a key indicator of poverty, child labour, illness or death in the family, abuse/violence
§  Appearance, Behaviour and Conduct – teachers can tell when the family situation has changed by checking the ABC.
§  Community-shared information – teachers and committee members are approached for support because they are regarded as opinion leaders and able to support financially

2.    Matching Grants for Community Group Own Initiatives
In practically all communities in Kenya, there exist self help groups. They are known all over Kenya as Chama. It loosely translates to a group/organization. These are community members who are brought together by proximity to each other or neighbourliness. They form an organized group – with elected/chosen leaders, a written or otherwise agreed on constitution or code of conduct. Most importantly, they agree on a small amount of money that they contribute periodically – daily weekly, fortnightly or monthly to address a common need. It could be buying cups and plates, plastering the floor and walls of the house, buying school uniform and shoes, buying a goat, sheep or chickens or even a bigger venture like buying land jointly. Sometimes, the members agree to give a lump cash sum to members to use on individual priorities.

The purchase of items or livestock is done on a rotational basis. For example – a group of 15 neighbourhood women come together and contribute Kshs 50 (USD 0.57) every fortnight. This money is given to a trusted treasurer. At the end of the month, they go to the identified crockery shop and buy a set of plates, cups, spoons, cooking pots for 2 or 3 members. This is repeated every month till all the members benefit. Alternatively, the contributions are ‘banked’ or kept by the trusted treasurer until they have enough to buy for each member. On the day of purchase and apportioning, there is great celebration because their unity and focus has borne them gifts.

GAD could provide Matching Grants for the efforts of the community own efforts. These address the community members felt needs, reduces the waiting time to enjoy the benefits, and does not create dependence on GAD by the communities.

This concept is so impacting that even well-to-do people have formed chamas. Among the middle class and elites, the priorities are, of course, different. Groups may come together to jointly save for car upgrades, holidays, investments such as land, real estate, stocks and other ‘needs’.

Banks realizing the opportunity here, have customized bank accounts for chamas.

3.    Response to TV Medical Appeals
Every so often, Kenyan TV stations will present a heart-rending case of a patient who requires financial support to access urgent or critical medical care. The media houses in Kenya can be trusted to have done a thorough check on the background and genuineness of the cases they show. Plus the videos speak for themselves.  Here is an example I found on youtube.

So there you have it, three ideas - what do you think?  What method would be your preference?  Why?  Let us know.

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