Are NGOs, UN organisations, donors, governments and policy makers that implement, fund and influence emergency cash transfer programming ‘fit for the future’?

Since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami there has been a progressive trend within the humanitarian sector to use cash transfers as a programme modality in emergencies and for recovery in both conflict and disaster contexts. Furthermore, a number of reviews have begun to be undertaken on the institutional challenges to support appropriate cash and voucher based interventions in these contexts.

The research was commissioned by the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), and undertaken by the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP), King’s College London. The project intends to understand how changes in the broader and humanitarian landscape may evolve in the future (up to 2025), and how these changes might shape cash transfer programming (CTP). The analysis examines these issues in the context of ongoing global dialogue on the future of humanitarianism, including the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) processes, the deliberations for the next iteration of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA 2), and the World Humanitarian Summit 2016. 

The research affirms a growing conceptual acceptance of the use of cash, both on the part of international humanitarian actors (IHAs) and crisis-affected governments. Even so, the research also finds that cash has rarely been considered a major tool in and of itself, and more often than not has been regarded as an adjunct mechanism that has ‘piggy-backed’ on more standard, in-kind mechanisms such as ‘food-for-cash’ programmes.

Viewing cash merely as a supplementary ‘tool’ for in-kind assistance and other financing modalities in times of emergencies is, however, to overlook the potentially transformative value that cash represents in a futures context. CTP is to fulfil its potential, it will require a new business model. Not only will that model have to meet the changing nature of humanitarian threats and needs, but it will also have to take into account the interrelated and evolving technological, socio-economic, demographic and governance realities in which cash will be deployed in future. This report presents a set of recommendations, both to the sector in general and to specific stakeholder groups that, if pursued, might reasonably serve as the basis for the creation of that new business model.

It is hoped that this report and the other project products will be widely disseminated and their conclusions and recommendations debated at all levels within the sector. This process should result in a set of priorities that can serve as the basis for a forward-looking action agenda. Ideally, this agenda should be conceived by the full network of actors identified in this analysis who have an interest and role in the evolution of CTP.

You can download the Executive Summary and Final Report separately. There is an Annex Package which contains the full set of products developed in the course of a 2013 research study.

Four of the annexes can also be downloaded seperately. These four thematic reports are on the following themes: the potential links between social protection mechanisms and emergency responsecoordination systems and CTP; the future of financing CTP; and the use of CTP by governments responding to national emergencies.

To download all the FFF documents in one zip folder, click here.

If you would like further information, please get in touch with us. Contact CaLP's Technical Coordinator: