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When are MPGs an appropriate response?

MPGs can be used regardless of context – urban and rural, rapid and slow onset, chronic and acute crises, and even natural and complex disasters. What is essential is a context-specific Situation and Response Analysis that prioritises a thorough assessment of the appropriateness and feasibility of different humanitarian interventions, including in-kind and other cash-based responses. As such, MPGs can be used alone or alongside other sector-specific interventions. The Operational Guidance and Toolkit for Multipurpose Cash Grants was developed by a consortium of agencies in 2015 and provides comprehensive and practical guidance for humanitarian actors to assess the feasibility, conceptualise the design and structure the implementation of MPGs.  

What are the implications of the use of MPGs for humanitarian actors?

The potential gains in programme quality from MPGs (measured as cost-efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and accountability) mean that there is strong policy momentum for a scale-up of their use. However, there are concerns that the push for MPGs does not fully consider concerns raised by some sectors regarding the appropriateness of MPGs for achieving sector outcomes.  Other concerns include the challenge of integrating MPGs into wider humanitarian response (including the coordination architecture, and protection-focused programming), and concerns around the traceability and accountability. 

MPGs necessitate new ways for humanitarian actors to collaborate, at each stage of the programme cycle, and across sectors. Many solid tools exist to support collaboration for the design and implementation of MPGs, but thus far have not been systematically adapted for interagency use. Crucially, there are no interagency models or standards for collaboration in large-scale MPG responses.   

What should progress look like in this area?

The potential of MPGs cuts across a number of the objectives of the Global Framework for Action, in particular Global Objective #4, Global Objective #5 and Global Objective #6. For this potential to be maximised, by 2020, this will mean that:

  • Multi-sectoral needs and markets assessment information is used to build an understanding of basic needs and contributes to multi-sectoral response analysis
  • There is a common understanding of how MPGs can contribute to meeting basic needs, and how they should be complemented by other interventions
  • Multi-sectoral outcomes of MPGs, as part of a broader humanitarian response, are systematically monitored
  • The challenge of integrating MPGs In the humanitarian coordination architecture has been addressed
  • An evidence base for the quality (measured as cost-efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and accountability) MPGs has been developed, which considers what operational model is most appropriate to maximise quality, by context