New learning in cash transfer programming
by Humanitarian Practice Network May 2012

The special feature of this issue of Humanitarian Exchange, co-edited with Sarah Bailey and Breanna Ridsdel, focuses on new learning in cash transfer programming. While cash is now an accepted tool, and is increasingly being used in humanitarian response, most programmes are small and gaps in analysis and practice remain.

In the lead article, Breanna Ridsdel identifies three major areas that need to be tackled if cash is to be used more effectively, particularly in large-scale responses: market assessment, response analysis and coordination.

These issues and others are examined in more depth by our other authors:

  • Erik Johnson reports on the recent Copenhagen Cash and Risk conference.
  • Sara McHattie outlines the key components of good response analysis.
  • Efforts to institutionalize cash programming are explored by Rosie Jackson and Nupur Kukrety, who conclude that management support is crucial to achieving success.
  • Degan Ali argues that risk aversion amongst the humanitarian community resulted in a reluctance to use cash programming at scale in South Central Somalia early on in the crisis, resulting in avoidable deaths.
  • Gabrielle Smith summarises the findings of a study reviewing the use of new technology in cash and voucher programming and the broader implications for humanitarian practice.
  • Kokoévi Sossouvi describes how an innovative approach to providing mobile money and financial education in Haiti met both immediate humanitarian needs as well as the longer-term goal of providing financial access to people outside of the banking system, while other experiences from Haiti are shared by Kate Ferguson.
  • Silke Pietzsch presents the findings from an Action contre la Faim (ACF) meta evaluation of fresh food voucher programmes.

Articles in the policy and practice section:

  • Highlight inconsistencies between the policy and practice of European Union (EU) states in the delivery of principled humanitarian aid.
  • Present the results of a study to assess the impact of the emergency response to physical rehabilitation needs after the Haiti earthquake.
  • Analyse funding appeals and processes related to older people and people with disabilities.
  • Explore efforts to bring together and enhance the capacity of community organisations from the UK-based Somali diaspora.
  • Outline six minimum standards to ensure better conflict-sensitive emergency response.