Cash transfer programming in emergencies

By Paul Harvey, Sarah Bailey
June 2011

The vast majority of international humanitarian aid is provided in-kind, in the form of food, seeds, tools, medicines, shelter materials and household goods. At the same time, however, there is a significant and growing body of experience with the provision of cash or vouchers as alternatives or complements to in-kind assistance. As experience with using cash transfers grows, so it has become increasingly clear that cash can play a part in assisting people after emergencies across a range of sectors. It can support access to food, help to rebuild or protect livelihoods, help to meet people’s need for shelter and non-food items, support refugees and facilitate return and reintegration processes. The question is no longer whether cash is an appropriate way to meet the needs of disaster-affected people, but how organisations, donors and governments can use cash transfers to best effect, in line with their missions and mandates.

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Suggested Citation


Harvey, P. & Bailey, S. (2011). A good practice review of the use of cash in humanitarian action. Humanitarian Practice Network, No. 11, June.