Kızılaykart: "Our model is an effective tool especially in times of crisis"
Introduction: The Kızılaykart, Innovative Cash-Based Assistance
Kızılaykart is a platform where humanitarian, private, and public sectors collaborate and work together. It provides regular cash support via governmental and banking infrastructure to the vulnerable people that meet specified criteria.
An inclusive response to COVID-19
How is your project being impacted by the COVID-19 situation?
Kızılaykart digital platform delivers assistance to the most vulnerable refugees through humanitarian cash provision.
There are currently six active programmes under the Kızılaykart platform and the regular cash uploads continue to be made on time and without any disturbances in the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
According to our studies, 96% of households indicated no difficulties in using the Kızılaykart and 81% of households do not face difficulties in accessing markets. 25% of the staff keep working from offices and show outstanding performance in the field reaching out to those who are most impacted by the pandemic, providing them access to the programme. The remaining 75% percent are working remotely from homes on activities like data verification, cash transfer and reconciliation, outbound calls for remote advocacy, information and assistance provision, remote Focus Group Discussion, remote Post Distribution Monitoring, etc.
How is it contributing to an effective, refugee-inclusive COVID-19 response in Turkey?
Our projects continue to be operational including the largest cash-based assistance programme in the world, namely the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) with over 1.7 million beneficiaries benefiting from regular cash assistance without any interruption. Our model of cash-based assistance is an effective tool especially in times of crisis. Through humanitarian cash provision, refugees can cover their basic needs such as food, rent, bills, and hygiene items, as well as support their children to continue their schooling by distance online learning. Our Kızılaykart 168 Call Center and Kızılaykart Service Centers are still operational and provide services to foreigners under International and Temporary Protection.
We also provide outreach and referral services to the people who are negatively affected by the COVID-19. Special efforts are being made for those who are older than 65 years old, people who have chronic diseases and people with disabilities.
What challenges have you faced and what steps have you taken to address them?
We closely follow the official health measures taken by the Turkish Ministry of Health and other relevant governmental bodies in terms of COVID-19, and we continue to provide assistance to the most vulnerable people.
Although some of our field activities were limited, we continue our outreach activities and card deliveries to those who are in lock-down at their homes, and inform our beneficiaries through SMS, social media channels, website and phone calls.
We act carefully with the people who come to our service centers to apply to our programmes and inform them that they have to maintain the physical distance. We do the same with people gathering in front of the ATMs to collect their money. We are advocating for people to use their card on the POS machines to purchase what they need without physical contact. There was a special study done by our M&E team which aimed to understand the effects of crowded ATM queues. As a result, it was observed that there were no over-crowded lines because of lock-down measures.
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