Building Resilience and Protection of Refugee Children

Unconditional Cash Assistance for Protection from Violence and Dignified living for South Sudanese refugee children and their families in Uganda.
Good Practices

Building Resilience and Protection of Refugee Children

Unconditional Cash Assistance for Protection from Violence and Dignified living for South Sudanese refugee children and their families in Uganda.
People sitting in a circle handling cash

The project in brief

The project is implemented by Plan International Uganda in Uganda. The first phase of the project was rolled-out from June 2020 to September 2021, phase two from October 2021 to October 2023.

The Building Resilience and Protection of refugee Children and young people project delivered an integrated child protection project that aimed at ensuring children and young people receive age appropriate, child and adolescent friendly, gender responsive, life-saving protection services. It also aimed to strengthen community-based prevention and response to child protection concerns, enhance capacities of families to protect and care for children, address child protection risks, Gender based violence and promote positive parenting practices. 

The main goal of the project is to demonstrate that cash assistance is an important aspect of child protection case management to foster a protective environment for children and young people living in refugee settlements and host communities.

Main activities of the Good Practice

Building Resilience Project Cash for Protection intervention used child protection case management as an entry point to provide unconditional cash transfers to households where child protection cases were identified. It was part of a comprehensive child protection package of services that included case-management, referral to other services, psychosocial support, parenting skills.

The project targeted 1,400 vulnerable children and adolescents under Case Management such as UASC, children with disability, child survivors of gender-based violence, child mothers, teenage mothers, pregnant girls, and children and adolescents facing financial barriers to achieving case plan actions such as access to education, access to specialized child protection services, medical needs among others.

The process utilized a Standard Operating Procedure for CVA for Case Management which detailed a work flow that included the following steps: case identification using Best Interest Assessment guidelines, identification of child protection case management needs to be addressed with cash support from the case plan, CVA risk assessment in the target households, and communities with a mitigation plan, rapid market assessment of cash value to support case management needs, determination of cash transfer amount and frequency utilizing the WFP Minimum Expenditure Basket, development of communication strategy for CVA, selection of appropriate mode of cash transfer; either Mobile Money through telephones or cash in envelopes distributed by Case Workers witnessed by community leaders. The process also included establishing a functional child friendly feedback mechanism and a post distribution monitoring.

Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice

  1. Funding from the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation – through Plan Belgium.
  2. Technical expertise from within Plan International at different levels; in-country technical support, technical expertise and guidance from Plan Global, Region and Plan Belgium.
  3. Coordination and partnerships with the Government of Uganda, the Office of the Prime Minister, UNHCR, INGOs in Uganda, CSOs implementing similar projects and community members.
  4. Alignment with the Government of Uganda’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) under Pillars 2 and 3, which focus on emergency response and ongoing need, resilience and self-reliance of the CRRF respectively, as well as SDG 5 which focuses on gender equality.
People sitting on a porch handling cash

Partners involved

  • Plan International Uganda directly implemented the project
  • Refugee Welfare Committee members
  • Child Protection Committee Members
  • BEYONIC, a commercial Mobile Money (Funds transfer), Financial service provider

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


  1. Most project participants did not meet most of their priority child protection related identified needs with the minimum expenditure basket (MEB) provided due to unforeseen price increase as a result of inflation. This coupled with cuts in refugee food rations by WFP in Uganda meant that affected households utilized the cash to supplement food needs instead of addressing key child protection related concerns for which the cash was given. Hence more funding needed to bridge the funding gap for cash for protection.
  2. Decision making on what the cash should be used for largely remained with parents and caregivers of children and adolescents, impeding child participation in household matters.

How they were overcome

  1. The project prioritized the critically vulnerable cases to receive the cash. This was done using case identification and assessment criteria targeting those with most needs and at risk of violation.
  2. The project continuously sensitized target households and community members on the use of cash assistance and the importance of joint decision making on what to purchase with the cash received in line with the issues identified in the child protection case plan.

Results of the Good Practice

During a post distribution monitoring, 94.6% (209 of 221) of parents and caregivers of vulnerable children interviewed, reported that the cash received impacted positively in their relationships with community and family members. It improved their food security, ability to meet basic needs, clear medical bills, maintain children at school, start income generating activities, increased sales and stock more products, increased the trust of the customers, suppliers, community and family members.
Other participants self-reported reduced family tensions, verbal abuses and threats and physical violence at home and in the neighbourhood. They also fulfilled customer expectations or demands, increased savings and the ability to socialize with others, share inform and experiences.
People sitting on chairs outside handling cash

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

The good practice helped enhance self-reliance and eased pressure on the host country by complimenting the efforts of the Government and UNHCR through assessment of specific needs of vulnerable children and their families and enhancing access to basic needs such as food, health care, scholastic materials.

Cash assistance responded to protection needs of at-risk refugee children, young people and their families by giving them dignified life-saving options to access basic needs in the settlement. It built their resilience thereby strengthening their protective environment.

Next steps

The project will be extended to its third phase for another two years. A proposal was submitted to the donor and initial approval has been granted indicating continued funding for the next two years. The project has also been scaled up to include Niger apart from Uganda, Rwanda, and Mali.

Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?

The good practice adds to the evidence and body of knowledge that cash assistance is a viable intervention in humanitarian programming, hence this good practice needs to be widely disseminated. Continued documentation of the good practice in the next phase of the project would be required to ensure further replication, and learnings.

More funding required to scale up the good practice in more zones.

Submitted by

  • Dorah Miriam Musiimire, Regional Technical Advisor, Adolescent Girls in Crisis, Plan International
  • Solomon Okech, Child Protection in Emergencies Specialist
  • Sharon Chikanya, Team Leader, Centre of Excellence: Girls in Displaced settings, Plan International - [email protected]