CTP in Challenging Contexts: Case Study on CTP and Risks in Yemen 2015–2018

Hutton, J., Boeser, S. & Turnbull, M.
Publication language
Date published
01 Oct 2018
Research, reports and studies
Cash-based transfers (CBT), Conflict, violence & peace, Protection, human rights & security

Yemen is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, and has long suffered from poverty, instability and vulnerability. The conflict, which has unravelled since late 2014, and, more specifically, since March 2015, has left 22 million Yemenis in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance or protection. Some 18 million people are food insecure, including a high proportion of Yemen’s children. More than 8 million of them do not know where their next meal will come from, and they need emergency food assistance to survive. This situation is aggravated by additional factors: Because of the very limited local production, Yemen relies heavily on imports of most commodities. The two main functioning ports have been affected by the conflict. Disruptions to access, such as port closures and road blockages, lead to supply line disruptions, reducing the purchasing power of suppliers, seriously affecting the market and the cost of goods, and, ultimately, resulting in the risk of famine. 

Despite these challenges, cash transfer programming (CTP) has been part of humanitarian and development programming for many years. While a few humanitarian agencies were implementing CTP prior to the escalation of the conflict, its use has grown dramatically since then. Humanitarian organizations have increased their use of both unconditional and conditional cash and voucher modalities as a potential tool for scaling up the emergency response, recognizing the immense possibilities it offers within the Yemeni context in stimulating local demand and the functioning of the market. CTP is now seen as the ‘go-to’ modality and the easiest to scale up dramatically.

This case study aims to contribute to the body of evidence on CTP-related risks and mitigation strategies by closely examining the massive scale-up of CTP in Yemen between 2015 and 2018. Specifically, the analysis focuses on: identifying risks in Yemen related to CTP; understanding how agencies analysed and monitored risks and made choices; and how they managed risk. The case study notes how donor policies, procedures and organizational approaches may have influenced decision-making on CTP and risk. Changes in risk identification and management over the period 2015–2018 are also examined, as well as geographic variation. The overall aim is to draw lessons learnt and make recommendations that inform humanitarian actors about risk management for CTP in other challenging contexts.