UNHCR Ecuador: Cash-Based Interventions (CBI) 2021 – Ecuador

Key figures

53.694
beneficiaries in 2021 in 17,772 households

$460
average amount of multi-purpose cash grants given to each family

43.777
total transactions made in 2021

Highlights of the situation

Refugees and asylum seekers in Ecuador face significant challenges in meeting their basic needs, which increases protection risks. High levels of poverty and unemployment, lack of access to adequate housing and food, and inability to access public services, mainly due to lack of regular status, have significantly deteriorated conditions lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the country. Without an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees and locals have seen their livelihoods affected, unable to meet their needs on a regular basis.

In this context, UNHCR’s multi-purpose cash assistance plays a vital role in meeting the urgent humanitarian and protection needs of refugees and reducing the risk of families resorting to negative coping mechanisms. It also empowers people to regain control of their lives, recognizing their ability to choose and prioritize their needs based on their circumstances, while contributing to the local economy.

UNHCR response

In 2021, the CBI response was implemented in six different programmatic response areas, which included multi-purpose cash grants (MPGs) to cover basic needs and complementary sectoral responses. Depending on the area, different modalities have been implemented to ensure efficiency, including cardless ATM codes, bank transfers and cash in hand. A total of 53,694 people received cash transfers in 2021.

Multi-purpose monetary grants and sector-based complementary monetary grants

The main response was provided through multi-purpose cash grants (MPGs), provided for three consecutive months, to the most vulnerable people who were targeted using a specific combined protection and socioeconomic. A total of 11,205 households – comprising 36,525 people – have benefited from this aid which acts as a minimum safety net to cover basic needs such as rent, food, health and communication expenses, among others. The amount depends on family size and varies between $80 and $160 per month with a three-month average of $460. MPG is provided via ATM cardless codes which have reduced contact risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The provision of MPG was part of an overall protection response for 292 households (980 people, 57% women) where the cash also contributed to school enrollment and/or reduced school dropouts. During 2021, the use of cash was gradually integrated as a complementary tool to meet sectoral needs, including responding to specific protection needs, access to different levels of education, sustainable livelihoods , documentation and community interventions.

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