Home - Thematic areas - Sector-specific Cash Transfer Programming

Sector-specific Cash Transfer Programming

As part of a sector-specific intervention, such as helping people affected by crises to access healthcare, or rebuild their livelihoods, cash transfers may be provided as part of a package. But each sector requires different skills and considerations to ensure cash transfers are used and monitored effectively.

Why is this theme important?

Cash transfers may be given to people in crises so that they can address their needs within a specific humanitarian sector, such as water, food, health, shelter, livelihood, or protection. Sector-specific cash transfer programming (CTP) can be restricted or unrestricted, and conditional or unconditional, and will typically be provided as part of a comprehensive package which may also include in-kind and service-based assistance.

But using cash to contribute to rebuild shelters after an earthquake requires a different set of skills and considerations than using cash to support access to education. Similarly, using cash to support pregnant women demands a different approach than using cash to support victims of gender-based violence.

Each sector has to consider different questions, challenges, advantages and risks when it comes to supporting people’s recovery within their area of expertise. This requires evidence, tools, guidance and capacity. Meeting sector-specific outcomes through CTP also requires a multi-sectoral understanding of needs and of household economic security - see Multipurpose Cash Assistance. While some sectors are very experienced in implementing CTP and have done so for many years, others are lagging behind.

What should progress look like in this area?

High quality sector-specific CTP requires progress across all of the six Global Objectives of the Global Framework for Action. Specifically:

  • Humanitarian practitioners in each sector routinely consider cash alongside other modalities
  • All humanitarian sectors have the means to build sufficient capacity for CTP within their sector
  • A sector-specific evidence base for CTP has been built for each sector, across different types of interventions
  • CTP is coordinated within each sector, as well as across sectors, and sufficient funding is available for sectoral CTP
  • Sector-specific CTP and its outcomes can be tracked, monitored and evaluated, as part of holistic outcome monitoring

Ongoing initiatives and news

Most humanitarian sectors have been increasing their efforts on sector-specific CTP, including some global clusters such as WASH, Health, Shelter, Education. The Global Cluster Coordination Group (GCCG) is also coordinating cross-cluster work to improve the sectoral used of CTP.

Contact sbumbacher@cashlearning.org to learn more.


Learn more

Evidence & Other Resources  

For resources on Protection, Child Protection and Gender-based Violence visit the Protection sub page

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Cash and Markets in the WASH Sector – A global Wash Cluster Position Paper (2016)

Cash & Markets Learning Event – Event Report (German WASH Network, 2018) 


Global Shelter Cluster Position Paper: Cash & Markets in the Shelter Sector (2016)

WASH & Shelter – joint papers

Increasing Sectoral Cash Transfer & Market Based Programming Capacity – Global WASH and Shelter Joint Advocacy Paper (2017)

Market Analysis and Outcome/Impact measurement in cash transfer programming in the WASH and shelter sectors in sudden onset disasters (CaLP, 2016)

Scoping Study – Emergency cash transfer programming in the WASH and shelter sectors (CaLP, 2015)


Impacts of Cash on Nutrition Outcomes (R4Act, 2018)


Research agenda-setting on cash programming for health and nutrition in humanitarian settings (Woodward, 2017)

Cash-based Interventions for Health programmes in Refugee Settings – A Review (UNHCR, 2016)


Child Outcomes of Cash Transfer Programming: Research Brief (Save the Children, 2018) 

Cash for Education: A global review of UNHCR programmes in refugee settings (UNHCR, 2017) 

Food Security

Cash Transfer Briefing Package for Food Security Cluster Coordinators (FSC, 2017)

Cash Transfers for Food Security in Epidemics (November 2017) 

Early Recovery

Cash Based Interventions in Early Recovery Settings Guidance Note (Final Draft) (GCER, October 2015) 

CCCM – Camp Coordination and Camp Management

Why not cash? The case for cash transfers for refugees in Mozambique (ODI, 2017) 

Testing new ground. Multisector cash interventions in Mangaize refugee camp Niger (CaLP, 2016) 


Guidance Notes: Cash Transfers in Livelihoods Programming- West Africa (CaLP, 2016) 

Guidelines on Cash Transfers and Livelihoods - Latin America (CaLP, 2016)