Cash coordination

Considerable progress has been made in the acceptance and use of cash transfer programmes in humanitarian response. There is a wide recognition that cash transfers can be appropriate and effective tools to support populations affected by disasters in a way that maintains dignity while stimulating local economies and markets. In appropriate contexts CaLP supports the use of cash based transfers.

However, despite this progress cash transfers are not yet routinely considered as a means of delivering emergency assistance. One of the main constraints is the poorly defined responsibility for coordination of cash transfers. The place of cash is not always clear in a sector-based emergency coordination system.

To date, cash coordination has suffered from an ad hoc approach, with a lack of clarity on key issues such as leadership, resourcing, and linkages with the overall humanitarian response. Further dialogue is needed between those involved in emergency coordination mechanisms and other stakeholders from within and outside the UN system.

CaLP provides support to coordination mechanisms at country, regional and global levels, strengthening coordination between humanitarian actors on Cash Transfer Programming.

Regional coordination

CaLP focal points support cash coordination at the regional level and work with cash coordination bodies and focal points at country level in their respective regions. They help share coordination experiences and lessons learned between countries and regions.

Visit our regional pages to learn more about CaLP’s regional initiatives and working groups in Asia, East AfricaWest Africa and North America. 

2015 Learning Event on Cash Coordination

Recent emergencies in the Philippines and in the Syria crisis have demonstrated a growing interest of humanitarian actors in the use of cash as a modality of response. A CaLP and IFRC-led Cash Coordination learning event was held in 2012 to consider the challenges posed and opportunities offered by cash transfer programming (CTP) to humanitarian coordination. Since this event, the use of CTP has further increased, resulting in different models of cash coordination particularly in regards to multi-purpose cash (not limited to a single cluster or sector). At the same time, a range of different initiatives from donors and operational agencies have emerged that consider the potential of cash transfers as a multi-sector tool and the implications of an increase in multi-purpose cash for humanitarian architecture.

This event sought to reflect on the progress since 2012 and to learn lessons from recent experiences in order to strengthen a common understanding of best practices and basic principles for cash coordination in the field. More information on the event can be found here.

The video featured below presents participants’ views on the challenges and opportunities of using cash transfers in emergencies and the key issues around coordination of cash transfers. Discussions around the use of multisectoral and multipurpose cash transfers as a potential response modality are also featured in the video.


The "Coordination Toolkit"

In emergencies it is essential to establish effective cash coordination mechanisms quickly, especially if no coordination system was in place prior to the disaster. Feedback from past cash coordinators indicates that they lacked ‘ready-to-use’ tools to support them, with each coordinator having to develop their own each time. This hampered their operational capacity and effectiveness in the first weeks of establishing a coordination group.

In an effort to try and address this limitation, and in response to the ‘Comparative study of emergency cash coordination mechanisms’, the CaLP team have developed a ‘Coordination Toolkit’ with input from current and previous cash coordinators. The toolkit is to be used as a ‘pick-up and go’ toolkit to support the work of future emergency cash coordinators. The Coordination Toolkit includes hints and tips from past coordinators alongside practical tools, guidance documents and templates.

The toolkit contains the following chapters:

  • Advocacy for cash coordination and guidance on the role of the coordinator
  • Advice and tips for facilitating the group
  • Communication advice to support the coordinator
  • Awareness-raising tools and basic training
  • Tools to use in the coordination group
  • Core CTP documents

The toolkit is a living resource and will evolve over time as more resources are shared with the CaLP, and as discussions and agreements on effective cash coordination take place.

Please note that some of the examples, templates and case studies presented in the Coordination Toolkit have not been produced by the CaLP team but by external agencies, and the use of a document developed by a particular organisation does not relate to any CaLP endorsement for that particular agency.

Download the Toolkit