3. Assessment and Analysis

Situational analysis is an important step in ensuring a successful program and should be done during the preparedness stage to inform the country Emergency Preparedness Plan and future responses. When considering CVA, a situational analysis should include:

  • Mapping of existing social protection schemes 
    • Using existing social protection programs may allow a more efficient and more effective response, with quicker program expansion 
    • Mapping should be done in partnership with emergency and long-term teams and include a review of targeting mechanisms already in place, caseload and geographical location of beneficiaries, payment systems, complaint mechanisms, administrative structures, cash transfer values, and existing evaluations
    • Can help inform how to best build on existing social protection programs for the upcoming emergency response


  • A description of other agencies’ CVA responses 
    • Critical for ensuring that combined impacts of different responses on local markets are closely monitored


  • Cash Feasibility and Risk Assessment 
    • Use of CVA is not necessarily riskier than in-kind programming, but the risks and their perception can be different
    • It is important to assess potential risks as part of preparedness to understand

1. Who is at risk

2. The seriousness of the impact 

3. Likelihood of occurrence

4. Whether risks can be mitigated through program design features (i.e.: choice of transfer modality, delivery mechanism, or complementary activities, especially from the perspective of different gender groups)

  • Necessary to weigh these risks against potential benefits and the risks of alternative interventions, including in-kind assistance or providing no response support

The Feasibility and Risk Assessment (FRA) will help determine CVA appropriateness and should be completed by program staff and signed off by CO management, as part of the Preparedness Action Plan. Assessments should be updated regularly in coordination with the CO Emergency Preparedness Plan, to ensure COs are able to design and implement timely, high-quality CVA that can be scaled up quickly. The FRA is designed around five risks commonly associated with CVA and in-kind delivery:

  • Risk to the safety and security of implementing partners and beneficiaries;
  • Risk of fraud and diversion;
  • Risk of confidential information leakage;
  • Risk related to market systems and their disruption;
  •  Risk of misinformation or political capture.

A Feasibility and Risk Assessment template can be found in CARE’s Cash Document Repository Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/s/6bjml9gv9afifrc/CTP%20Risk%20and%20Feasibility%20Assessment%20Form.docx?dl=0).  Note: This is not a formal assessment form to be filled in, but questions informed by data collected during the situation analysis, that should be considered by the CO before implementing CVA.



A market analysis is a crucial part of the situational analysis for any response, not just CVA. Humanitarian responses must be designed within the consideration of key market systems, or they risk damaging livelihoods, jobs, and businesses, and undermining livelihood rehabilitation, which can prolong dependence on assistance. CARE responses should DO NO HARM to consumers or markets and should make use of market systems when and where they are functional.

A market analysis will inform the preparedness plan and feasibility risk assessment (FRA), and will identify key market indicators to monitor during the response. If a pre-crisis market analysis cannot be done as part of preparedness, a full market analysis must be implemented as soon as possible after the shock, to avoid delays in program implementation.

Market analysis can answer questions related to:

  • The capacity of market systems to cover the volume and diversity of the population’s needs during an identified crisis;
  • People’s access to markets during the crisis especially women’s;
  • The impact of CARE’s intended humanitarian response on markets;
  • The delivery modality to be chosen to deliver CARE’s response.

Interventions aim to link responses with medium- to longer-term market development. In doing this, markets can be both a means for achieving the goals of short-term humanitarian responses and a way to help support longer-term access to basic needs and livelihoods, so that they may better withstand shocks.

Market analyses can also improve understanding of:

  • How to ensure market system recovery in emergency settings;
  • How to best facilitate improving market access following a crisis;
  • How implementing disaster risk reduction measures before a crisis can improve access to market systems and/or protect and strengthen these systems to make them less vulnerable to shocks.


Every market analysis should meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Market assessments enable appropriate program decisions and are based on identified needs;
  • Market analysis data informs key program-related decisions and contributes to the selection of appropriate modalities to achieve objectives while doing no harm;
  • Collection of data is undertaken by competent and knowledgeable teams;
  • Data collection systems, procedures, and information sources utilized in the market assessment are appropriate and of sufficient quality to allow for the capturing of the dynamic nature of markets;
  • Monitoring activities provide a check against initial assessment findings and enable decision-making for potential adaptation of interventions (See Section 5.b Monitoring the market).

The most common tools for market assessments include:

Multi-sector market analysis:

Rapid market assessments:

Market systems tools and analysis:

A summary of all these tools and their relative strengths/weaknesses can be found in the CaLP at http://www.cashlearning.org/markets/humanitarian-market-analysis-tools

These tools can be used by non-market experts, but they require training and confidence in using them. Furthermore, they can be used in sectors (shelter, WASH, food security and livelihood, etc.) and are based on two different approaches:

  • Analyzing a limited number of critical market system chains: EMMA, PCMMA, MAG. These market analyses are stand-alone exercises, integrated into the situational analysis. On average, they take 10 days and cost $15-20,000 (USD).
  • Assessing the overall market capacity in a certain geographical area: RAM, 48h tools. These tools can be used within the frame of a broader multi-sectoral needs assessment.


The choice between these two approaches should be defined on a case-by-case basis, based on:

  • Size of the assessed market. If analyzing a market place where many commodities are exchanged, an approach based on critical market system chains is recommended. If the analysis is meant to cover a smaller market, consider assessment objectives.
  • Size of the intended response compared to the local market.
    • If the response is expected to target more than 25% of the population in urban areas and more than 10% in rural areas, a more in-depth assessment should be undertaken.
  • The quality of existing secondary information.
    • What information can be used from organizations like WFP, FAO, FEWSNET, national ministries, private consulting companies, and NGOs?
    • The stronger the existing data, the lighter the data collection in the field will need to be.
  • Assessment objectives. The questions you want to answer through the market analysis can help you choose the approach.
    • Market capacity assessment may be enough for choosing an emergency response to cover multiple needs or for selecting the best delivery modality to implement in early phases of response.
    • You may need an analysis of specific market system chains to design an early recovery livelihood intervention or a large-scale intervention.


It is possible to combine a broader needs assessment with specific critical market systems assessments. Needs assessments can also inform the selection of critical market systems to analyze, such as those that have or could have a major role in meeting the essential needs of the target population.


Women and men have different and distinct needs and challenges in emergencies. Analyzing these during project design and implementation is essential to implementing a program that can support both women and men equally, and CVA is a tool that can help overcome gender inequality and vulnerability. 

All parts of a situational analysis should consider gender, and be used to inform program design, whether implementing in-kind assistance or CVA. These analyses tell us about power relations and gender roles within households and the community, which can be culturally and geographically specific, and will impact how women are targeted as beneficiaries.

To best understand specific gender needs in an emergency, use: 

1. An existing CARE Gender in Brief (GiB) from the CO, that is updated immediately after a shock

2. Experiences from previous CVA and asset distributions

3. Gender assessment, best if completed within the month following a shock

4. Gender analyses from UN Women, UNICEF, or from other agencies operating in country.

These should inform:

  • Whether women are/are not especially vulnerable to poverty and shocks, and why;
  • What makes risks for women worse during a shock;
  • Roles, needs, capacities, differences, and inequalities of women, men, girls, and boys, regarding income generation and access to market, cash, and credit;
  • Power relations and participation of women and men in income generation, access to and control over cash and resources, and decision making on how to spend money to meet needs within the household;
  • The way money is divided, controlled, and used within households, including multiple partner households (polygamy, polyandry);
  • Where control lies within the household regarding management and use of cell phones, SIM cards, and ATM cards;
  • Differences between male- and female-headed households, in terms of access to and control of cash;
  • The cultural norms and practices that shape women’s and men’s access to and control over cash and other family resources.

CARE’s Rapid Gender Analysis has been specifically adapted for CTP use, and can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cyu3ep346yz4m9g/RGA%20FGD%20Cash%20and%20Markets%20template.doc?dl=0.

The IASC’s “Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action” has a chapter on CTP and gender equality, which offers steps in integrating gender meaningfully through such an intervention (https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/gender-and-humanitarian-action/content/iasc-2017-gender-handbook-humanitarian-action-english).  

Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action (http://www.cashlearning.org/downloads/user-submitted-resources/2019/05/1557937891.CVA_GBV%20guidelines_compendium.FINAL.pdf )

It is best to avoid starting new partnerships in an emergency, so identifying partners or building their capacity should be a priority for preparedness.

Key considerations for partner selection include: gender sensitivity, response scale, capacity, and cash readiness (or amount of work that would go into making a partner cash ready).



Agreements with implementing partners and other responsible parties should be developed with well-defined roles and responsibilities. CVA use should be mentioned in the agreement, and process indicators should be developed to ensure the proper implementation (see: Monitoring and Evaluation – insert link to Section 27, subsection 6). If CARE’s partner has existing Standard Operating Procedures on CVA, CARE Project Manager or Team Leader should make sure these are not conflicting with current guidelines. In case of discrepancies, agreements should state that CARE guidelines and SOP take precedence.

Potential tools for partnership development/assessment:


The selection of Financial Service Providers (FSP) follows the procedure for procurement of service described in CARE’s Procurement Manual.

Assessment includes:

  • Identifying administrative details and compliance:
    • Gather organizational and contact information, data about provider history
    • Get a detailed history, including the existence of and adherence to policies on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), child abuse, anti-terrorism, fraud, bribery, discrimination, harassment
    • Ensure FSP would sign a legal letter confirming that the organization is legally compliant and not subject to any legal investigations
  • Identifying coverage zones and capacity of coverage in each region
  • Ensuring that FSP has or can improve gender balance and capacity in each region if needed
  • Identifying operational capacity at each distribution point:
    • How many beneficiaries can they serve?
    • How much cash they can distribute every day?
    • Can the staff women at each distribution point?
    • What are their turnaround times and line capacity?
  • Gauging experience of humanitarian cash transfers:
    • Experience working with humanitarian organizations
    • Number and type of different cash distribution mechanisms available
    • SOP to transactions and providing receipts
    • Ability to share names/contact info of cash dispensing agents at district/sub-district level
    • Willingness to comply with CARE policies on PSEA, anti-terrorism, anti-bribery/corruption, etc.
  • Determining the cost of service and transaction financial process
  • Monitoring and reporting processes
  • Contracting
This checklist can be used to vet service providers which meet CARE procurement standards and specific programmatic requirements.



Payment agent selection should align with response context and program objective, but is generally based on the following criteria:

  • Access and speed: Consider cash flow, delivery point proximity, training and registration time, payment processing time, system breakdowns (mobile networks, internet, etc.). Depending on how urgent the needs are, speed and payment mechanism reliability can be key deciding factors. If considering longer-term activities, then payment mechanism costs and sustainability can become deciding factors;
  • Scale: Effectiveness of different options to deliver at project scale;
  • Acceptability and reach to vulnerable groups: Convenience and acceptance at community and individual levels;
  • Security and safety: Physical safety all beneficiaries (particularly women, girls, and other vulnerable groups), as well as CARE staff and partner team members;
  • Data protection: Should consider the level of data protection offered and potential counter-terrorism regulations;
  • Controls and risk mitigation: Includes beneficiary verification, donor and government regulation adherence, transparency and control risks, and the ability to monitor and correct, and report/ provide reconciliations;
  • Flexibility: Ease with which the chosen vendor can adjust to varying payment size and frequency;
  • Existence of a framework agreement with CARE and/or experience of the payment agent;
  • Service costs: Includes set-up charges (especially if new technologies are considered) and transaction costs, as well as additional charges such as staff time, transport, security, education, and training costs, should be considered. Costs incurred by the beneficiaries (cost of transport, opportunity cost of time spent to access the cash, financial cost to withdraw the cash/transaction) should also be included in the cost analysis.