Cash and Voucher Assistance
Giving disaster affected people cash is a growing and critical part of humanitarian action with the potential to drive transformational change in the architecture and ways of working for aid agencies. We believe people affected by crisis should be at the centre of humanitarian response and empowered to recover with dignity. When the conditions are right, receiving cash gives people more choice to direct their own recovery and prioritise their needs.
The IFRC is well placed within the humanitarian system and the global reach of the Movement with local presence through the unique role of National Society staff and volunteers. We champion an approach that is as local as possible – as international as necessary. Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are often the first to respond in an emergency. By strengthening their capacity to deliver cash independently, we are working towards reaching more people, more quickly, with more appropriate forms of aid.
When responding to emergencies, especially rapid onset disasters and crises, humanitarian agencies face numerous challenges and there is intense pressure on their resources and capacities. Cash in emergencies look at the how cash and voucher assistance could be implemented on a timely manner to address the needs of the affected population while ensuring high quality programming, where this modality is appropriate and feasible. More resources on Cash in emergencies can be found here.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been implementing Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and investing in cash preparedness for many years. The Movement is uniquely placed to become a world leader in the provision of cash and voucher assistance in emergencies. The IFRC’s Cash Roadmap highlights the IFRC commitment of increasing CVA whilst recognising the need to invest in cash preparedness and organisational mainstreaming to achieve this.
The IFRC, ICRC and several Partner National Societies (PNS) have been supported the institutionalization of cash and voucher assistance within several National Societies since 2012 to help integrate cash assistance into NSs disaster response activities.
The IFRC cash preparedness pilots, which ran from 2012 to 2013, informed the development of a cash preparedness model which is captured in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s Guidelines for Mainstreaming Preparedness.
Other important resources and tools for cash preparedness are available on rcmcash.org and on cash-hub.org, which both host the Cash in Emergencies (CiE) Toolkit to provide detailed guidance and tools to implement cash programmes:
The Cash Hub platform was launched in 2018 to accelerate the use and the scale-up of cash assistance in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, offering a repository of resources and information on cash assistance operations of the Movement. Both of the platforms offer wide range of resources to the Movement to support NSs in carrying out CVA responses as well as helping them being cash ready by following the Movement cash preparedness approaches. Cash preparedness investment also considered different National Society contexts, development processes and partner resources and priorities. More information can be found here.
The Cash Hub platform also hosts an online community on CVA for staff and volunteers of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to discuss and connect with colleagues.
Digital technology has the potential to transform the way in which cash programmes operate. Data management and digital payment platforms (e.g. mobile money) are already demonstrating how new technologies can have a great impact on efficiencies and convenience for people receiving cash assistance. This is just a few examples of the potential for the use of technology for scalable and quality cash programming. Emerging technologies such as blockchain and digital ID’s are also being explored to address challenges experienced in providing and managing cash assistance. For more information click here.
Cash Information Management is a support service that aims to enable more efficient and transparent cash operational programming through improved data collection, analysis, documentation and reporting. A network of Cash IM practitioners in the Red Cross Movement work to define, provide and improve these service offerings. To find out more on Cash Information Management click here.
IFRC is a standing member of the Cash Peer Working Group – an informal Movement coordination body comprised of the ICRC and various National Societies who collaborate at a technical level on cash and has been in existence since 2016. Some of the CPWG’s main achievements have been establishing a cash community in the Movement with technical and regional levels, developing guidance and tools (Movement Cash Strategic Framework, market assessment and analysis guidance and the cash in emergencies toolkit) that inform global practice and standards and of course working to support learning and good practice in developing National Society capacity in preparedness to deliver cash and build the right human resources to do so through the Movements cash training pathways. To find out more click here.