Oxfam, with support and partnership with the Government of New Zealand (MFAT), has been exploring the options and feasibility of providing humanitarian cash assistance to support evacuees and host families on the island from Maewo. The purpose of this assessment is to determine whether market conditions in Maewo are conducive to the provision of this type of assistance, and therefore whether the implementation of a cash transfer program (CTP) would be feasible and beneficial for the evacuees from Ambae, host communities and the local economy of Maewo.
The following report contains a detailed market assessment of Maewo Island with the aim of informing the design of an appropriate cash transfer or other humanitarian response to support the recovery of evacuees there. Market assessment is an essential part of cash transfer programming, as it is a market-based approach to the delivery of humanitarian assistance. This type of assessment is considered best practice prior to implementation. By understanding what goods and supplies are available, in quantities, at what prices, and whether there is sufficient presence of financial services to facilitate payments to beneficiaries, Oxfam (and other aid agencies) uses market analysis to determine whether whether or not a cash transfer program can be implemented, and if so, how. When market conditions (such as supply and liquidity) are constrained or at risk (inflation), in-kind assistance is more likely to be recommended as the appropriate intervention.
The content of this assessment focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the market systems (supply, demand, liquidity, transport, price elasticity and infrastructure) in Maewo. The assessment aims to indicate whether markets are resilient enough to support a cash transfer program designed to meet the priority needs of evacuees and host families.
Four market systems were assessed in Maewo through a site visit conducting a consumer survey of 255 residents and evacuees, a retail survey of 15 vendors, 28 interviews with producers, operators of transportation and community leaders on Maewo and 2 focus groups with community members. The critical market supply chains studied included food, hygiene products, shelter and livelihoods.