Home - Thematic areas - Cash & Voucher Assistance and Risk

Cash & Voucher Assistance and Risk

To ensure Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) is routinely considered by humanitarian actors when designing an intervention, we must address the perceptions and myths that it is a riskier form of response than others.

Why is this theme important?

One of the main reasons why humanitarian actors are not routinely considering cash (Objective #2 of the Global Framework for Action) is because of perceptions of risks. This concern is linked to the growing emphasis from donors on anti-terrorism and money laundering, and shrinking budgets for humanitarian assistance.

This was a key finding from CaLP’s State of the World’s Cash Report, which also noted that donors may tolerate the diversion of a small amount of in-kind aid, but can be much more sensitive about diversions of cash. This sensitivity has been passed from donors to other humanitarian agencies. The issue is particularly sensitive in conflict environments, where armed groups pose a threat and it is difficult for humanitarian actors to gain access to affected communities and oversight of the response.

What should progress look like in this area?

For CVA to be routinely considered, success will mean that:

  • Myths around CVA are debunked and the discourse, attitudes and behaviour of humanitarian actors around the risks of CVA will change
  • CVA is systematically and equally considered, based on evidence of actual risks across modalities
  • Regulatory barriers, such as the anti-terrorism and de-risking agendas of donors do not prevent the systematic consideration of cash.
  • Risk is tackled through collaboration between operational humanitarian actors, governments, donors, and financial institutions.
  • Operational staff have the capacity and practical tools to identify and mitigate risks.

To work towards these goals means tackling risk along the Project Cycle, based on the following questions:

  • Situation Analysis: How are CVA-specific risks perceived?
  • Response Analysis: How do CVA-specific risks influence decision-making?
  • Programme Design: What mitigation measures already exist?
  • Implementation: How can programmes and mitigation measures adapt over time?
  • Monitoring & Evaluation: How effective are mitigation measures and what is their impact?

Ongoing initiatives and news

Over the coming months we will be convening a range of actors to discuss different topics related to the theme of risk, with the goals of advancing and synthesising debate, providing a forum for actors to share best practice, and ensuring field-level experiences feed into global conversations.

  • 17 October: Webinar: Data sharing in CVA: ethics, ownership and privacy
  • 29 October: CVA and risks related to fraud and beneficiaries’ protection, Doala, Cameroon
  • 31 October - 1 Nov - CVA and Risk in Syria, Gazientep, Turkey (closed door event)
  • 21 November - Webinar: Organisational readiness for data management. Find out more here.
  • 26 November - Putting responsible beneficiaries’ data protection at the heart of our work, Dakar, Senegal. Find out more here.
  • 4 December - Cash Week event: Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CT) and Anti Money Laundering measures on CVA, and Data Responsibility and Protection in Humanitarian CVA, London, UK. Find out more here

A variety of organisations are currently working on CVA and risk. CaLP is working to identify synergies among actors, avoid duplication, and define joint priorities that can be better addressed collectively. Together with WFP, CaLP is co-leading the risk priority within the Grand Bargain workstream on cash.

Case Study on Risk in Mali, in both English and French.

Case Study on CVA and Risks in Yemen, full report and summary.

Watch our webinar about data sharing in CVA: ethics, ownership and privacy

Watch our webinar featuring insights from the authors of our case studies in Yemen and Northern Mali.

For further information, please contact Anna Kondakhchyan.

Header image: Habibatou Gologo/Oxfam