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Markets and Cash and Voucher Assistance    

Well-functioning markets are a lifeline for people affected by crises. Effective Cash and Voucher Assistance uses and supports local markets. Market analysis must therefore be a key part of the response cycle, for cash programming and other forms of humanitarian assistance.

Introduction to Markets Assessments, IFRC

Why is this theme important?

Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) can only be effective if people affected by crises can purchase the goods they need at local markets. Supporting markets to function well has also been shown to lead to faster recovery and increased resilience in disaster affected areas.

When designing a humanitarian intervention and deciding whether to use CVA, a market analysis should be part of the overall response analysis. Improving our ability to carry out market analyses enables Global Objective #2 of the Global Framework for Action: Ensure cash is routinely considered, alongside other tools.

Many organizations have invested in the development of tools to support market analysis. More practitioners are also considering market-based programming more holistically. This includes interventions that use the market (such as cash transfers to affected populations), as well as interventions that directly support markets (such as conditional grants to traders to get their market back up and running).

What should progress look like in this area?

For CVA and broader market-based programming to be routinely considered, success will mean that:

  • Market analysis is integrated across the humanitarian project cycle and across sectors, informing program design and program adaptation
  • Market information gathered during non-crisis times is used to inform, improve and accelerate the delivery of humanitarian assistance in emergencies 
  • Market support and market strengthening interventions are systematically considered, and implemented as a complement and/or alternative to direct assistance to crisis-affected

To achieve this progress, the following steps are needed:

  • Market analysis tools need to be adapted for use across sectors, including markets for services (e.g. water, rent)
  • Continued investment in a more systematised use of market analysis and market-based programming across sectors and across the humanitarian project cycle
  • More evidence needs to be generated on the impact of market-support interventions on households, the added value of pre-crisis market assessments, and the relationship between labour markets and commodity markets in a crisis.

Ongoing initiatives and news

Markets in Crises

What is it? The Markets in Crises (MiC) Community of Practice is the go-to forum for sharing information and collaborating on all aspects of market awareness and engagement in pre-crisis, emergency and recovery contexts.

How to join? The MiC is a community of practice open to anyone interested in markets, crises, market development and/or emergency response. To join the MiC online community, and gain access to the library, please click here. You can also engage with the MiC community on Twitter: @MarketsinCrises.


BEAM is a space to share knowledge and learning about the role of market systems in reducing poverty. Understand how and why market systems approaches work, read practical guidance on how to put the approach into practice, and share your insights with other practitioner.



Learn more

Training Courses & Materials

Introduction to Market Analysis: available in EnglishFrench and Arabic

A Practical Guide to Market Analysis: available in EnglishFrench and Arabic

Market Assessment Tools Training A 5-day face to face training course.

Please log in to Kaya to access these courses.

Evidence & Other Resources 

For more resources, see the Markets in Crisis library

How to: Tools & Guidelines

News & discussion

As cash transfers gain favor, time for a rehaul of market assessments (Devex)

For discussions on markets, join the Markets in Crisis D-Group.