Cash-Transfer Programming in Emergencies

Publication date

01 Feb 2006

Type

Book

Share publication

In emergencies, distributing cash can often meet people's immediate needs more quickly and appropriately than the direct distribution of commodities. Cash gives people choices and thereby preserves their dignity. Commodity distribution often poses logistical problems, and - in the case of food aid - it may disrupt local markets. But among humanitarian agencies there are fears that cash transfers will pose security risks, create inflation, and fail to be used to meet basic needs. In this guide, the first of its kind, Oxfam staff present the rationale behind cash-transfer programmes. They explain how to assess whether cash is the most appropriate response to any particular emergency. Different types of cash intervention are compared - cash grants, vouchers, and cash-for-work - with checklists to explain how to implement each of them. The book draws on the practical experience of Oxfam and other agencies, including responses to the devastation caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004. The guidelines are primarily intended for NGO personnel: programme managers, food-security specialists, public-health engineers, finance staff, and logisticians. Policy makers in donor organisations and international agencies will also find them relevant. In emergencies, distributing cash can often meet people's immediate needs more quickly and appropriately than the direct distribution of commodities. Cash gives people choices and thereby preserves their dignity. This publication also includes a series of 15 quick-reference cards which summarise the key approaches from the book.