THE VOUCHER PROGRAMME IN THE GAZA STRIP
Final report – MARCH 2011
Commissioning Agencies: World Food programme
The WFP voucher project is part of the emergency operation (EMOP 10817.0) to assist the recovery of the population affected by the conflict in Gaza Strip. WFP emergency operation has the following objectives:
WFP is assisting 313,000 non-refugee beneficiaries until end of April 2011 and at 295,000 beneficiaries from May 2011 onwards. The targeted beneficiaries are social hardship cases, vulnerable groups (including internally displaced people) and school children in public schools.
The pilot UVP implemented in partnership with OXFAM GB started mid-October 2009. It targets 2,335 households, representing around 15,000 beneficiaries in urban areas of North Gaza, Gaza City and Khan Younis governorates in the Gaza Strip. The vouchers (256 NIS Corresponding to approximately 70 USD) per household per month) are redeemed in 23 shops and a range of 10 food commodities This review refers to 10 food items, compared to 9 food items in the other project documents, because yogurt and ‘lebanah’ are considered as separate items. This is to reflect beneficiaries’ tendency to consider these two products separately and to better take into account their different origins (imported vs. local). is proposed against the vouchers.
The review has been commissioned by WFP and Oxfam GB with the aim to assess how effectively the voucher project is meeting project objectives and whether vouchers are an appropriate transfer modality in the context of the Gaza Strip. The specific objectives are to review the current voucher implementation modality, to compare the cost-effectiveness of voucher compared to the general food distribution, and to propose recommendations for the design of the UVP component in the next WFP Gaza operation.
The consultant reviewed documents related to the food security and socio-economic situation in Gaza before starting his field mission. Baseline data, quantitative follow-up data specifically collected for the purpose of this review, and regular monitoring data (available at the WFP monitoring database) were analysed with the technical support of the WFP VAM unit in Jerusalem.
The fieldwork focused on focus group discussions and interviews with implementing partners, project beneficiaries and different market actors. The analysis is mainly qualitative and has been used to either explain or reinforce the quantitative data available from other sources.
Six focus group discussions, two per Governorate, were conducted with women and mixed groups. The qualitative analysis attempts to explain how beneficiaries were able to complement the food items redeemed through vouchers with their own resources and their perceptions about the appropriateness of the voucher’s value and composition. Although qualitative findings, inferred from focus group discussions, could not be considered to be representative of the entire target population, they provided helpful insights into beneficiaries’ expenditures disaggregated according to different typologies.
The review did not focus on the cost-efficiency of the voucher and in-kind modalities, since this analysis alone, would not be helpful in explaining the effectiveness of the modalities. However, some considerations are taken from the cost-efficiency review conducted in the West Bank. Analysis of the cost-effectiveness of the voucher was mainly inferred from quantitative data available through the baseline survey, follow-up data and regular monitoring. Comparative analysis of household food consumption was conducted using findings from beneficiaries’ surveys conducted at the beginning of the project (October 2009) and two monitoring follow-up surveys carried out in August 2010 and February 2011. Food consumption and dietary diversity were compared to findings from the GFD FCS survey (August 2010) and quantitative data from the SEFSec 2010. Analysis of household energy food intake was conducted, comparing the nutritional value of the food items redeemed through vouchers to the GFD in-kind distribution. Qualitative information gathered through focus group discussions helped to give an account of the overall household food intake, which goes beyond the nutritional value of the voucher and in-kind rations. Nutritional data from the MIC survey (2006 PCBS (2006) Palestinian Family Health Survey. (Unicef, UNFPA)) and the UNICEF Nutrition Surveillance System Ministry of Health (2009). National Nutrition Surveillance System Report – January – December 2009 provided nuanced information on the main nutritional issues in the Gaza Strip.
The multiplier effects and price trends were measured against the shops’ baseline survey (October 2009) and regular monitoring data on shop prices and volume of sales. When comparative analysis was not available, the review carried out retrospective interviews with market actors. Interviews were conducted with nine shop-owners and three dairy factories, in order to assess the impact of the voucher project on their businesses. Due to lack of monitoring and baseline data, the income multiplier analysis of the dairy sector was mainly based upon ex-post estimation of productions. Interviews with local farmers have also been conducted to assess the impact on local milk production.
Due to lack of time, only two interviews were conducted with hen farmers. The high number of hen farms in the Gaza Strip compared to the number of interviews conducted did not give a clear idea about the potential impact on the sector. Considering the limited and sketchy information gathered and the lack of secondary data available, this review is not able not deal with the economic impact on the sector. Further analysis will need to be conducted in order to get more detailed information.
Structure of the report
The report is structured in three parts. The first part reviews the UVP implementation modalities with particular focus on the value and composition of the vouchers and the targeting process. The report examines beneficiaries’ preferences and it recommends additional items that could be added in the future. The report then analyses how beneficiaries were able to complement the food items redeemed through vouchers and reviews the targeting process and its efficiency.
The second part deals with aspects related to cost-effectiveness of the voucher modality compared to in-kind distribution. The review will not dwell upon the cost-efficiency between the two modalities, as a similar analysis was already conducted in the West Bank. The analysis will mainly look at the impact on household food consumption and dietary diversity and the contribution towards food intake, in terms of energy and nutritional value. As requested in the ToR, some consideration was made for the potential impact of the voucher modality on the main nutritional issues in the Gaza strip.
The third part deals with secondary market impacts and multiplier effects. The analysis focuses on those local sectors that have mostly been impacted by the voucher project. The report concludes with a summary of the main findings and gives recommendations for the next phase.