Are cash transfers the panacea to local involvement in humanitarian decision-making? Evidence from World Vision projects in Umzingwane
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Cash transfers are increasingly becoming a preferred mode of alleviating human suffering particularly in drought-affected communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The transition from conditional to unconditional cash transfer programming highlights strides that seek to promote local involvement and accommodate consumption choices of vulnerable recipients. This article sought to ascertain ways through which vulnerable societies’ voice and influence are magnified in unconditional cash transfer programming. In addition, the benefits of cash transfers and its contribution in building drought resilience of communities benefitting from World Vision interventions in Umzingwane District were explored. Through the descriptive survey design, data was collected using structured and unstructured questionnaires. Study participants were chosen using simple random and purposive sampling techniques. The findings showed that unconditional cash projects are beneficial in allowing recipients to prioritise deployment of scarce financial resources, influenced entrepreneurship within the locality and manipulated social capital. The article contends that building local resilience to drought was not feasible because of low cash allocations, which were inadequate to sustain household food needs, and this offered less space to invest in non-food items that support resilience processes. The article concluded that life-saving assistance including unconditional cash programming limit vulnerable populations from voicing their aspirations and influencing critical project decisions that have the potential to transform their resilience to drought, hence the need to deepen local participation in humanitarian and developmental projects.