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Operational Preparedness in CTP

The use of cash transfer programming (CTP) does not yet come close in scale to in-kind assistance. Rolling out quality, timely CTP at scale requires investment in preparedness. Despite the growing use of CTP in emergencies most agencies lack cash-specific elements in their contingency planning documents. Response times could be significantly improved if humanitarian actors collaborated to address these gaps.

Key areas to build preparedness include:

  • Developing internal procedures, capacities and systems that permit design and delivery of cash transfer programmes.
  • Contingency planning analysis – including baseline analysis of markets, regulatory frameworks, social relations (e.g. gender), delivery mechanisms – incorporating a mapping of financial and technology service providers  – and security.
  • Assessing delivery mechanisms and establishing pre-agreements.
  • Pre-positioning appropriate materials (such as pre-printed vouchers or smart cards) to facilitate rapid scale up.
  • Coordination of contingency planning activities, particularly with government actors.
  • Sharing and regularly reviewing contingency plans.

A variety of tools are available or in progress to help with each of these processes. CaLP seeks to share preparedness tools, best practices and lessons learned, as well as encourage cash-relevant contingency planning. Market analysis and the use of new technologies in emergency response are two other thematic areas that CaLP is currently exploring and that have two major implications on the consideration and use of quality CTP at scale.

Photo credit: Tessa Bunney / Oxfam

What do we want Operational Preparedness to look like in 2020?

CaLP's strategic focus between now and 2020 will primarily be on supporting operational preparedness for multi-modality response. This is critical to making cash the default method of support for affected populations where markets and operational contexts permit.

By 2020, CaLP's vision is that CTP is a systematic component of a multi-modality response which is agile and responsive to change in needs and market feasibility. This will be achieved when the following indicators are met:

  • Donors have significantly invested in institutional and local preparedness to scale up the use of cash transfer programming. This includes funding multi-year preparedness approaches for national led response systems to implement cash at scale
  • CTP has been mainstreamed in preparedness efforts within UN agencies, NGOs, national actors and governments. These preparedness efforts enable coordinated CTP, including linkages with social protection where appropriate.
  • Coordinated investments in financial infrastructure preparedness and system interoperability for cash transfer programming
  • Funding assignations for CTP are based on agencies’ local capacities to operate in a given area or sector, or their capacity to lead on a specific function of the programme cycle

What is stopping us from achieving that?

Operational preparedness is limited by the following illustrative constraints:

  1. Inter-operability
    • Data naming conventions not standardised
    • Digital identity and digital payment platforms do not facilitate interoperability
    • Compliance requirements are not standardised
  2. Complementarity of different actors
    • Comparative advantages of different actors are not maximised (e.g. in terms of effectiveness, geographic coverage, capacity to innovate and willingness to cooperate)
    • Local national mechanisms are not sufficiently supported to invest in preparedness at scale
    • No combined system of analysis and programme design for multiple modalities  

3. Localisation

    • Local systems and infrastructure are not systematically assessed and/or strengthened as part of preparedness
    • Local individual and institutional capacity strengthening is not prioritised

What is CaLP doing to address some of these issues?

There are many ongoing efforts to address the challenges above, including efforts to increase the predictability and accountability of cash coordination; institutional capacity building programmes & standardisation; and inter-operability initiatives spear-headed by Financial Service Providers.

CaLP will focus on the following evidence gaps/topic areas to address these:

  • Value for Money (VFM) of CTP preparedness
  • Reviewing the efficiency  & effectiveness of different models for the operational delivery of CTP
  • Measuring effective institutionalisation of CTP
  • CTP & Risk: regulations & compliance
  • Information management standards and systems
  • Standardisation of operations functions

Operational delivery of CTP

CaLP has created an Operational Delivery of CTP page as a space for humanitarian practitioners engaged in the operational design and delivery of CTP.  This area is specifically focusd on staff working in finance; logistics; security and ICT, either at field, national or Headquarter level.

On this page, CaLP has collated a set of useful resources and materials designed to provide specific guidance and support to staff involved in the operational design and delivery of CTP, including CaLP’s new Guidance Note for Operational and Support Staff involved in Cash Transfer Programming provides step-by-step guidance to preparing, planning implementing and monitoring a cash programme from the perspective of finance, logistics, security and ICT roles



CaLP Guidance Note for Operational and Support Staff involved in Cash Transfer Programming

CaLP-led research: operational models for delivering CTP

CaLP is developing the evidence base on models for the operational delivery of CTP, to inform:

  • Decision-making on the appropriateness of CTP delivery models, by context.
  • Objective assessment of agency capacity to deliver on different functions of the programme cycle.

We are currently conducting a study to explore the links between efficiency, effectiveness and different delivery models for CTP.

Phase 1 is a desk review of delivery models in six locations (Iraq, Ukraine, Philippines, Malawi, Pakistan and Afghanistan).

Phase 2 will build on the analysis through quantitative field work. An overview of the methodology is available here.

Together with partners from the ECHO-funded consortium, we have already developed a framework of different levels of collaboration and co-ordination, which will be refined based on the findings of the study.