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Advancing Humanitarian Solutions: USAID, UNICEF, IFRC, and NRCST Jointly Explore CVA Feasibility in Turkmenistan

Ashgabat, November 28, 2023

In a concerted effort, the National Red Crescent Society of Turkmenistan (NRCST) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), organized a pioneering workshop to delve into the feasibility of Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) in Turkmenistan.

CVA stands as a common and effective option for humanitarian response, referring to programs where cash transfers or vouchers for goods and services are directly provided to aid recipients. This empowers individuals in need to decide how best to fulfill their immediate vital needs. Notably, CVA is increasingly superseding traditional in-kind distribution methods, such as the provision of food or non-food items like blankets, clothing, and hygiene kits. The IFRC, as a global leader in CVA, is committed to delivering 50% of its humanitarian assistance through cash and vouchers by 2025.

The workshop is a culmination of research conducted by NRCST in Turkmenistan during October-November. The results will contribute to a final paper containing findings and recommendations on the CVA feasibility which will be shared with national stakeholders as well as the international community in Turkmenistan.

The event was attended by representatives of ministries, banks, UN agencies of Turkmenistan, NRCST employees from regional branches - Akhal, Balkan, Mary, Lebap, Dashoguz. The opening remarks were made by the Chairperson of the NRCST, Ms. Maral Achilova, the head of the ICRC mission, Mr. Mikhail Rakhmanov, the representative of USAID, Mr. Jeffrey Skarin and the IFRC delegate, Ms. Pauline Caspellan.

Jeffrey Skarin highlighted the significance of CVA, emphasizing its growing prevalence in the US and internationally due to its effectiveness in allowing survivors to obtain precisely what they need. He underscored that CVA supports local economies as aid recipients make purchases in local markets, positioning it as a pivotal approach for the future.

In his presentation, IFRC delegate Mr. Marcin Podlesny expanded on the discussions related to the inter-agency cash working group and CVA during the workshop, providing a comprehensive overview of CVA preparedness. Delving into the current trends in humanitarian assistance, Mr. Podlesny addressed common misconceptions surrounding the use of cash in humanitarian aid. He further elucidated on the primary areas of collaboration essential for effective CVA implementation, emphasizing the need for coordination, partnerships with financial service providers, capacity building, and joint testing of CVA initiatives among humanitarian organizations, the private sector, and government entities.

During her presentation, IFRC delegate Ms. Pauline Caspellan underscored the pivotal role of legal preparedness in disaster risk management, specifically emphasizing its importance in the implementation of CVA in the country. Ms. Caspellan emphasized the necessity of appropriate legislation and by-laws for seamless CVA implementation, particularly focusing on legal facilities and benefits for the secure transfer of humanitarian monetary funds. Moreover, she highlighted the imperative of safeguarding the personal data of beneficiaries during emergencies. Notably, Ms. Caspellan drew attention to our support for the adoption of the law on international humanitarian assistance in an emergency situation in Turkmenistan, offering a significant legal foundation for future humanitarian CVA initiatives in the region.

Discussions during the workshop centered on the feasibility of introducing CVA in Turkmenistan, addressing implementation challenges, and proposing viable solutions. Participants expressed their commitment to collaborate in developing a roadmap and practical implementation of the project to integrate CVA into Turkmenistan's humanitarian sector.

The overarching goal of the workshop was to seamlessly integrate CVA into Turkmenistan's       humanitarian sector and Government, thereby enhancing the nation's preparedness and response capabilities.

Project overview: Since 2019, the IFRC, the Red Crescent National Societies (NS) in Central Asia, and UNICEF, with the support of USAID BHA, have been implementing the project on Strengthening Local and National Capacities for Emergency Preparedness and Response in High Earthquake Risk and Natural Hazards Prone Countries of Central Asia. This is a preparedness and resilience program in the region focusing on strengthening capacities for earthquake preparedness and response in high-risk countries in Central Asia with a focus on pre-positioning critical supplies and community-based risk reduction activities.

USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) provides life-saving humanitarian assistance—including food, water, shelter, emergency healthcare, sanitation and hygiene, and critical nutrition services— to the world’s most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people.

USAID BHA is the lead federal coordinator for international disaster assistance, harnessing the expertise and unique capacities of other U.S. government entities to effectively respond to natural disasters and complex crises around the world. USAID BHA takes a holistic look at humanitarian aid, providing assistance before, during and after a crisis—from readiness and response to relief and recovery. This includes non-emergency programming that is foundational to linking humanitarian assistance to long-term development and the journey to self-reliance.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network. Its secretariat supports local Red Cross and Red Crescent action in 190 countries, bringing together more than 16 million volunteers for the good of humanity. The IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people.

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The National Red Crescent Society of Turkmenistan (NRCST) as one of the first humanitarian public organization of the country, which plays an active role in the social and economic reforms implementing in the country during a new historical epoch, performing activity in such areas as social security of people, public health care, strengthening of family institute, education of young generation in the spirit of the best traditions of the Turkmen people: mercy, sympathy and compassion. The NRCST was established in 1926 and is the only recognized independent public organization in Turkmenistan to carry out humanitarian activities across the country. It has 36 branches, 165 staff and 5,000 volunteers. In 2012, the law “On the National Red Crescent Society of Turkmenistan” was adopted, regulating its auxiliary role and, in 2020, the Turkmenistan law “On international humanitarian assistance in an emergency situation” was adopted. The current NRCST programs and projects plans are in line with the International Federation’s Strategy 2030.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Olessya Zhuravleva

Cash and Voucher Assistance Officer for Central Asia, IFRC
Tel: +7 771 722 98 03 e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

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