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Guidelines for cash transfer programming - International Federation ...

Guidelines for cash transfer programming - International Federation ...

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10 International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Guidelines for cash transfer programming 2. What is cash transfer programming? This chapter explains the different forms of cash transfer that the Movement is likely to be involved in. Key messages ■ Cash transfer programming can be used to address basic needs* for food and income and/or to protect, establish or re-establish livelihoods or productive capacity. ■ Cash transfers allow recipients to obtain a range of goods and services of their choice directly from local markets and service providers. ■ Cash can often be delivered more quickly than inkind commodities. ■ The provision of cash alone is not always sufficient – link cash transfer programmes to other forms of support. ■ Monitoring and evaluation of cash transfer programmes have shown that risks of abuse are no greater than for other forms of commodity response; procedures to prevent abuse are necessary for all programmes. * The definition of terms followed by an asterisk can be found in the glossary (see page 4).

Guidelines for cash transfer programming Implementing cash programmes 2.1 Rationale of cash transfers Cash transfer programming is one form of humanitarian response which can be used to address basic needs and/or to protect, establish or re-establish livelihoods or economic productive activities. While states must take primary responsibility for their citizens in disaster situations, the Movement is often called upon in humanitarian crises to provide assistance to those in need. Movement responses have traditionally focused upon the provision of in-kind assistance, i.e., giving people specific items to replace what they have lost or what they need. However, cash transfers (sometimes in the form of vouchers) can assist populations affected by disaster particularly where employment, income, livelihood or economic production opportunities have been lost. Unlike in-kind assistance, cash transfers allow recipients to obtain goods and services of their choice directly from local markets and service providers. Essential features of cash transfer programming Many of the basic principles of cash transfer programming are very similar to commodity-based programming. For example: ■ Include and consult the disaster-affected population throughout the programme. ■ Needs assessments are essential. ■ Establish clear programme objectives from the outset. ■ Decide upon the most appropriate form of response on the basis of needs assessments and programme objectives. ■ Agree on the content and/or value of assistance. ■ Clear targeting rationale. ■ Timely delivery of assistance. ■ Sufficient institutional capacity. ■ Coordination with governmental and non-governmental actors. ■ Monitoring, reporting and evaluation. Providing cash helps protect livelihoods, because affected people can avoid resorting to negative coping strategies (such as eating seeds or selling livestock or assets) in order to cover their essential needs. Cash also helps disaster-affected people to recover their livelihoods through purchase of essential livelihood assets, services or repayment of loans. Finally, it is often quicker to provide cash than to implement a commodity-based response. The provision of cash alone is, however, not always sufficient. Cash transfer programmes often need to be linked with others that focus on improving infrastructure, market support and the availability of services. Cash programmes can also include the distribution of in-kind commodities. However, this requires ongoing dialogue with other organizations and with local- and national-level authorities. What is cash transfer programming? Cash transfers are a mechanism for providing resources for all sectors. If essential goods are available on the market but affected populations do not have enough money to purchase them, then providing cash allows people to cover their short- and/or long-term essential food and non-food needs. In emergency response and recovery programming, it is essential to assess food security and ensure that food needs are covered through the provision of either cash or food (see Chapter 3). A.2 11

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