Using cash helps deliver greater choice and empowerment to affected people and strengthens local markets, but remains underutilized. While it is not a panacea, and the context will ultimately define which tool to use, donors and aid organizations should routinely consider cash when evaluating response options and some donors may wish to scale up significantly. Cash cannot meet all needs: investment in public goods, including protection, education and health will still be needed. Delivering cash should, where possible and appropriate, use, link or align with local and national mechanisms such as social protection systems. It can have the greatest impact when delivered as a single multi-sector transfer, rather than broken into components for shelter, household goods etc. and may be complemented by in-kind assistance, specialized interventions, specific technical support and vouchers. It should include new partnerships, be coordinated across aid organizations and be delivered through common mechanisms. Preparedness, planning and mapping measures are essential to ensuring that cash-based programming can be used to best effect.
Aid organisations and donors commit to:
- Increase the routine use of cash alongside other tools, including in-kind assistance, service delivery (such as health and nutrition) and vouchers. Employ markers to measure increase and outcomes.
- Invest in new delivery models which can be increased in scale while identifying best practice and mitigating risks in each context. Employ markers to track their evolution.
- Build an evidence base to assess the costs, benefits, impacts, and risks of cash (including on protection) relative to in-kind assistance, service delivery interventions and vouchers, and combinations thereof.
- Collaborate, share information and develop standards and guidelines for cash programming in order to better understand its risks and benefits.
- Ensure that coordination, delivery, and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are put in place for cash transfers.
- Aim to increase use of cash programming beyond current low levels, where appropriate. Some organisations and donors may wish to set targets.