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Lessons learned through improving the use of cash and vouchers in a NGO

CaLP celebrated Relief International and Project Concern International’s cash and voucher institutionalization process, having used CaLP’s  Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool to design an action plan, on May 31, 2017 in Washington DC. The OCAT, which was created by CaLP, is a tool for helping organizations program more cash and vouchers in emergencies, by identifying barriers to high quality programming. The use of the OCAT is an investment, and using it across an organization could take up to six months. marked by the need to make cash and voucher programming more efficient and effective. 

Alex Gray from Relief International, Amy Ostrander from Project Concern International  and Henk Prenger, the lead consultant for the process at both organizations, explained their experiences with the Strengthening Institutional Capacity program through a panel discussion.  

They discussed how they realized that their organizations could be improved by using the OCAT. Key points included

  1. It is important to celebrate what your organization is already doing effectively, in order to build on previous successes and build support for the OCAT process.
  2. Due to the length of time it takes to complete the assessment, extensive buy-in and effort is needed from many different staff.
  3. There needs to be a balance to find the appropriate investment of time in this preparedness measure.        


To offer a broader view on how cash is being institutionalized, the American Red Cross and the International Rescue Committee shared some their resources they are using to institutionalize the use of case. 

Wendy Brightman from the American Red Cross, after briefly reminding everyone of all the resources available in the Cash in Emergencies Toolkit, went over how they are working with national societies using a six-step process to strengthen their ability to deliver cash at scale. 

The International Rescue Committee made a commitment to deliver 25 percent of its assistance as cash by 2020. Yoann Tuzzolino exhibited a six-question decision tree that IRC country offices are using to be able to deliver cash electronically. By moving to digital payments, IRC hope to increase the speed, efficiency, and scale of their responses. 

The event ended with an interactive reading and review of the Organisational Cash Readiness Tool (OCRT). This tool was built, based on feedback received in the Strengthening Institutional Capacity (SIC) processes with Relief International and Project Concern International, to be easier to use with clearer instructions. Participants examined the tool and thought about how gathering evidence may work within their own organizations. 

By the end, several tools were presented, allowing organizations different ways to improve an organization’s ability to program cash and vouchers more effectively, efficiently, and appropriately in emergencies. 

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