Home - What we do - The Future of Financial Assistance

Why do we need to think about the future of financial assistance?

Cash assistance is disrupting the humanitarian sector. The growing use of cash to meet
humanitarian needs is challenging traditional sector and mandate based models, and
bringing with it opportunities to work with new partners and tools.

With its links to other reforms in humanitarian assistance, such as the push for localisation, participatory
approaches, social protection and market based support, cash is being increasingly regarded as a catalyst
for positive transformation. CaLP is supporting a collaborative process to ensure this change is driven by
what crisis-affected people need and prefer, and that we can collectively take advantage of new opportunities
and partnerships in a way that maximises the impact of limited humanitarian resources.


Highlights from the Future of Cash panel at CaLP's Cash Week 2018


How should we approach this challenge?

To effectively prepare for the future, we need to look at all types of financial assistance
in humanitarian settings, including humanitarian cash and voucher assistance,
remittances, social protection payments and peer-to-peer giving and lending. We are
bringing together actors from across the humanitarian sector and beyond to
answer this critical question.

Through consultation and analysis, we aim to provide insights that will support the humanitarian
sector to:

→ Understand how future trends will provide opportunities to deliver better responses through new
instruments and partnerships;

→ Make the most effective use of scarce resources in addressing growing humanitarian need through an
evolution of roles and approaches and by addressing political hurdles;

→ Use the knowledge, experience and analysis of cash actors to ensure that broader humanitarian futures
thinking will lead to the best outcomes for crisis-affected people.

For the first stage of this work we are partnering with the Inter-Agency Research and Analysis Network to
develop four scenarios for the financial assistance landscape in 2030.


Through analysis and scenario building, IARAN enables aid organisations to plan 1-15 years into the future,
pre-empt change, build adaptable strategies, and ultimately save time, money and lives down the line. 
Read more at https://www.iaran.org/.



Phase 1: Gathering insights

The validity and impact of this work depends on the input we get from our members,
the broader humanitarian community and beyond. For the first stage of this work we
sought feedback from a wide range of stakeholders on the factors which will influence
the future of humanitarian action in general, and financial assistance in particular.

More than 70 actors from the humanitarian sector and beyond shared their feedback on the factors and
tools that were felt to be most influential in shaping the future of financial assistance. Based on a weighted
analysis, we were able to rank these factors and tools by order of importance. The top five are illustrated
below, and the full ranking can be found here.

These preliminary findings were used to inform the second phase of research to envision future scenarios.


“Climate change-induced migration will define the second half of the 21st century.”

"The increasing digital divide between those that are not only less or more connected but that are less or
more digitally literate will be an essential
component of financial assistance."


“The improved collaboration between government, pre-crisis private sector and civil society will change
the response to
sudden onset events."

“Cashing-out will remain the norm as fears of cyber-fraud, identity theft and indebtedness increase."


Phase 2: Developing hypotheses

On 15 May we held a side event during the Grand Bargain Cash Workstream meetings in Rome to validate
the hypotheses that have emerged from our work so far. These hypotheses covered themes including the
role of governments and the private sector, digital identity and beneficiary data, mobile technology and
internet access, use of financial services, population movements, and funding levels for financial assistance.

The feedback from this event have shaped the development of a number of scenarios for the future of financial
assistance. These were workshopped over a two-day event in Amman, Jordan on 24 and 25 July and a webinar
on 31 July. 


Phase 3: Analysis and synthesis

Insights from this collaborative process have been analysed and synthesised by CaLP and IARAN, and will be
collated into a report due for publication in November 2019. The findings and recommendations from this
research will be presented at an event during Cash Week 2019. Find out more here.


Your feedback is very welcome. We will aim to respond to your comments as soon as we can.