Winter response 2022-2023: Cash assistance for highly vulnerable families - Rural Damascus

Key highlights: Monitoring the usage of cash assistance

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UNICEF/Syria/2022/Johnny Shahan


UNICEF is providing over 200,000 highly vulnerable people in Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Rural Damascus governorates with three rounds of unconditional cash assistance. The response is informed by the lessons learned from the 2021/2022 winter response, which highlighted the need to:

  1. increase the amount and frequency of cash assistance;
  2. focus on those vulnerable groups facing greater socio-economic vulnerability, such as female-headed families; and
  3. prepare early to make sure that beneficiaries receive their benefits at the onset of winter.

As a result of these lessons, the response focuses on four specific vulnerable groups of families with children:

  1. female-headed families;
  2. families with a child and/or adult with a disability;
  3. families with a child and/or adult with a chronic illness; and
  4. families with orphan children. 

Each family is receiving US$ 180, paid in three instalments of US$ 60 each during the course of the winter season. Payment is taking place at regular intervals, every 6 to 8 weeks, between October 2022 and February 2023.

Key findings of the rapid post-distribution monitoring survey

These reports provide the key findings of the rapid post-distribution monitoring surveys (PDM), which were conducted among beneficiaries of the cash winter response in Rural Damascus governorate. The survey was conducted to monitor (i) how beneficiaries have used the first tranche of the cash they have received and (ii) at what speed they have used the cash assistance.

Key highlights batch 1 - October 2022

  • Over two-thirds of the cash was used by families to purchase food, health, and clothes.
  • The use of the cash to purchase food was very consistent across vulnerability criteria of families. 
  • There was a direct correlation between the type of vulnerability affecting families and the use of cash.
  • Female-headed families spent twice as much on clothes than other families. 
  • The use of cash was extremely quick.

Key highlights batch 2 - November 2022

  • Over 90 per cent of the cash assistance was used on four items: energy, food, clothes, and health.
  • Energy was the top expenditure, accounting for 27 per cent of the cash usage.
  • Food was a consistent expenditure across all types of vulnerabilities.
  • The use of cash was closely correlated to the type of vulnerability.
  • The use of cash was extremely quick.
Social Policy Section, UNICEF Syria
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