Collecting key data on markets to support cash and voucher assistance

April 9, 2021

StatementIn collaboration with national cash working groups, UN agencies, implementing partners, and donors, REACH works globally and nationally to address core information gaps in cash and voucher assistance (CVA) and provide evidence to support more effective CVA interventions.

As of April 2020, REACH’s work in CVA spans 20 countries and four main themes:

  • Harmonised, inter-agency Joint Market Monitoring Initiatives (JMMIs) that bring together many cash actors to regularly collect data on market prices, functionality, and accessibility, which enables the calculation and adjustment of local Minimum Expenditure Baskets as well as of the standard transfer values used in multi-purpose cash.
  • Coordinated Joint Rapid Assessments of Markets (JRAMs) that provide a quick snapshot of how and whether markets are able to respond effectively to a well-defined shock.
  • More in-depth cash feasibility studies and market assessments that aim to answer larger questions about the structure and functionality of local markets and to support evidence-based advocacy for the most effective aid modality available.
  • Thematic assessments tailored to fill specific information gaps: for example, financial service provider assessments, labour market assessments, post-distribution monitoring systems for CVA programmes, and others.

Market monitoring and analysis has the potential to better inform CVA assistance in an effort to help various population groups meet their basic needs. Such assessments are also often designed to monitor the financial burdens placed on households by humanitarian crises, and whether these vulnerable households can reasonably access the goods and services within their local markets. Ensuring that physical, financial, and social access is maintained is paramount for them to meet their needs.

For more information

All of REACH’s cash and voucher assistance-related assessments conducted around the world can be accessed on the REACH Resource Centre through the dedicated Cash section. Users can freely explore the anonymised datasets as well as downloading final published outputs.


09/04 – Syria –  Highest Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket value ever recorded in Northeast & Northwest regions

Syria’s Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB) represents the minimum culturally adjusted set of food and non-food items required to support a 6-person household for a month. To ensure these items remain available and accessible for populations in need, and to monitor fluctuations in prices which can have a negative impact, REACH and its partners collect monthly information on the prices and availability of 36 basic commodities across Northern Syria, among which 18 are in the SMEB.

In January 2021, REACH and market monitoring partners such as CARE, GOAL, People in Need, and the Syrian Association for Relief and Development (SARD) collected data from 33 sub-districts in the northwest part of the country and 26 others in the northeast. In total, over 4,000 individual shops were assessed in the process.

Results from the situation overviews published in the northeast and in the northwest showed that the value of the regional SMEB was the highest ever recorded. The value of the SMEB increased respectively by 44% and 38% in the Northwest and Northeast regions of Syria.

Having a SMEB value so high is concerning. The SMEB represents a household’s core, non-negotiable expenses, and such high figures suggest that these households are finding it hard than ever before to make ends meet.

Data collected throughout these regions highlighted the extent to which the depreciation of the Syrian Pound (SYP) has had a severe effect on households’ ability to afford basic food items, such as meat and vegetables.

Since July 2020 the SYP depreciated by 22% against the US Dollar (USD) in the Northwest, where the highest exchange rate was recorded in the Afrin community in Aleppo governorate. In the northeastern part of the country, the areas most affected by the depreciation of the SYP are mostly located in the Ar-Raqqa governorate.

Of notable concern, 80% of the total vendors surveyed in Northeast Syria and 78% in Northwest Syria reported that price inflation remained their primary challenge for supplying their stores. Price inflation is particularly prevalent in Idleb.

For more information on the situation of markets across Northern Syria, please feel free to download the January 2021 situation overviews from the Northwest and the Northeast.

Further datasets, reports, and fact sheets from the market monitoring exercises conducted in Syria can be accessed on the REACH Resource Centre.


09/04 – South Sudan – 21 humanitarian partners involved in the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative

In South Sudan, a continued and protracted macro-economic crisis, accompanied by currency depreciation, has resulted in high food prices, eroded household purchasing power, and made food unaffordable for a significant proportion of the population. Disruptions caused by COVID-19 to the supply chains of both commercial and humanitarian actors worsened the severity of food insecurity.

The latest Joint Market Monitoring (JMMI) fact sheet published in March is based on data collected on 21 basic commodities drawn from the Multi-Sector Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (MSSMEB) across 52 marketplaces.

The key findings reveal that the cost of the food basket has increased by 9% nationally in the span of a single month, with certain areas witnessing even more severe increases across just two weeks, such as Juba town (60%), Akobo (75%), and Kapoeta (79%).

The full MSSMEB has increased by over 90% between March 2020 and March 2021.

The prices of certain items have severely increased in just over a week, as reported by the JMMI factsheet, such as rice (+120%), sorghum grain (+102%), maize grain (+62%), and flour (+61%).

The full catalogue of cash and markets assessments conducted in South Sudan are also accessible on the REACH Resource Centre.


09/04 – Global – Regularly updated Market Monitoring dashboards in Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq

To keep aid actors informed on a regular basis and provide the humanitarian community with up-to-date data from its Joint Market Monitoring Initiatives, REACH has launched interactive dashboards in . Through these dashboards, humanitarian partners can consult all of the information collected, tailoring their searches to retrieve the key information they are looking for within a precise time-range, for certain specific commodities, or within a precise geographical area.

Screenshot of a section of the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative dashboard in Somalia. Click here to access where the dashboards are hosted.

For more information

All of REACH’s cash and markets assessments conducted around the world can be accessed on the REACH Resource Centre through the dedicated Cash section. Users can freely explore the anonymised datasets as well as downloading final published outputs.

The examples provided above represent only a snippet of market monitoring activities that REACH is leading across the world. Aside from the countries highlighted above, REACH is also involved in market monitoring data collection in