Multipurpose Cash Grants (MPGs)

Why is this theme important?

Multipurpose Cash Grants (MPGs) are unrestricted cash transfers that place beneficiary choice and prioritisation of his/her needs at the forefront of humanitarian response. MPGs are delivered as a single transfer (regular or one-off) corresponding to the amount of money a household needs to cover, fully or partially, a set of basic and/or recovery needs. This short animation video below  serves as an introduction to Multipurpose Cash Grants and provides an overview of their use, advantages, and implications for the different actors of the humanitarian system.


By their nature, MPGs are the assistance modality which offers people affected by crisis a maximum degree of choice, flexibility and dignity. There is also growing evidence that they are more cost-efficient and cost-effective to meet multiple needs. As visualised in ‘Figure 1 – MPGs as a foundation for sector-specific interventions’ below, MPGs can also contribute to more successful sector-specific interventions, by ensuring basic needs are covered and thus enabling crisis-affected persons to utilise in-kind goods and access services.

Supporting crisis-affected and displaced people as economic actors

MPGs encourage humanitarian actors to better understand the local economy and market dynamics in a holistic way, whether the program objective is to meet sector-specific needs or a range of needs that may differ from family to family.

For more information about MPGs, visit our FAQs page.


Ongoing initiatives

ECHO ERC Consortium for ‘Increasing the Uptake of Multi-Purpose Cash Grants in Emergency Responses’ .

This Save the Children-led project aims to develop processes and tools to enhance inter-agency capacity to collaboratively design emergency responses that take MPG to scale. The Consortium is developing and testing new methodologies, supporting the development of environments conducive to the uptake of MPGs, as well as reviewing new models of collaboration around MPGs, with the goal of ultimately increasing the efficiency of humanitarian response through a greater uptake of quality, collaborative MPGs.

Between April and September 2017 the Consortium piloted these approached and tools in Borno State Nigeria. Consortium members worked closely with local and national humanitarian actors and outputs informed the Humanitarian Needs Overview and the Humanitarian Response Plan. A second pilot ran in the Somali Region of Ethiopia between November 2017 and March 2018.

Beyond the pilots the Consortium worked with the Global Cluster Coordination Group and other relevant initiatives to gather their feedback on the Consortium’s work, raise awareness of the Consortium’s aims, and ensure the Consortium’s outputs are of wider use to the humanitarian system.

Links to the Consortium’s key tools and the reports can be found in the resources section of this page (to the right).  Each link will take you to a page containing the relevant tool and the reports produced during the Nigeria and Ethiopia pilots. The resources are as follows:

  • The Basic Needs Assessment
  • The Multi-Sector Market Assessment (developed by UNHCR and piloted by the Consortium)
  • The Delivery Guide and Assessments (for financial service provision)
  • Basic Needs-Based Response Options Analysis and Planning
  • Monitoring for MPGs
Figure 1: MPG : as a foundation for sector-specific interventions. Source: UNHCR, CaLP, DRC, OCHA, Oxfam, Save the Children, WFP (2015), 'Operational Guidance and Toolkit for Multipurpose Cash Grants'



A Multipurpose Cash Grant (MPG) is defined as a cash transfer (either regular or one-off) corresponding to the amount of money a household needs to cover, fully or partially, a set of basic and/or recovery needs. MPGs are by definition unrestricted cash transfers.

The Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) is defined as what a household requires in order to meet basic needs – on a regular or seasonal basis – and its average cost over time. Basic needs are defined by affected households themselves, International Humanitarian Law and Sphere Standards. MPGs will contribute to the MEB, but can also include other one-off or recovery needs.


ERC – MPG Consortium tools:

ERC - MPG Consortium Symposium, Ethiopia, April 2018 event documents: