World Vision International
publication • Monday, October 15th 2018

“Nexus Mysteria”? Why the divide is artificial, and the opportunities are real

Kathryn Taetzsch

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By Kathryn Taetzsch, Global Director, Cash-Based Programming, World Vision

It should not matter what logo, flag or funding source someone represents when they look into the eyes of a mother who has lost a child because of war, or a father who cannot feed his family because the rain did not fall this season, or a child who has only ever known a constant hunger twinge in their stomach.

While we always need to nuance, and ensure appropriate, contextualised approaches based on the needs of those most affected by conflict, poverty or humanitarian crisis, there is artificial distinction between those involved in humanitarian and development and peacebuilding. 

How do and can we overcome this?

The six Cs

1. Context. It matters, it always matters, but so does analysis – especially in places of fragility – of the context, and ensuring it reflects the reality of the situation and our responses to it.

2. Coordination, among often very different actors with different mandates and timelines, including sharing information, establishing high-level reviews of joint aggregated data.

3. Consideration of eligibility for assistance, the assistance itself (be it one-off humanitarian multipurpose cash for survival, or conditional transfers for recovery or targeted multi-year, regular social protection interventions buffered by a monetary value transfer) and transition or exit points when appropriate.

4. Contingency, to allow for a re-entry or re-activation of transfer assistance when, for example, a child’s vulnerability changes because of humanitarian shock, it is not only shock-responsive but “shock proactive”. In these cases, predictive vulnerability modelling and live-monitoring is possible and cost- and time-effective.

5. Community support through sensitisation and empowerment, and social accountability coupled with quality programmes and clear yet adaptable mandates.

6. Collaboration with other local actors, and in particular national and local government entities for sustainability, capacity building and synergy.

Children and their families affected by extreme poverty and injustice often face more than one challenge. Food insecurity, exclusion from government services, social protection schemes and markets, exclusion from quality eduction, a lack of access to land for cultivation, chronic health challenges, geographic and often socio-economic marginalisation or distance, as well as gender, religious or ethnic or political characteristics. On top of that, conflict and natural disasters occur either frequently or with increased intensity and impact or longevity, compounding the effects felt and experienced by children.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We have put boundaries up between “humanitarian”, “development” and “peace” work. They do not have to be divided, they can and should be phased and complementary. 

As an organisation, World Vision is strongly committed to ensuring that humanitarian cash-based programmes become the norm, not the exception, and build on national and regional social protection mechanisms, including those that promote financial fall-back contingency nets, where shocks are more predictable to strengthen social protection systems.

We see the urgent need and the opportunities to do all three, and we facilitate the bridging while still learning how to ensure that our work is geared towards those who are most vulnerable, while ensuring greater results and impact.

While we always need to nuance, and ensure appropriate, contextualised approaches based on the needs of children affected by conflict, poverty or humanitarian crisis, there is something of an artificial distinction between those involved in humanitarian and development and peacebuilding.