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Research about cash vouchers and real cash distribution in humanitarian

The results of some research by ICRAA posted by Dr Sana Ahmadzai

It’s not strictly speaking in line with the editorial policy of LMP (it’s not really about “Directly connected to issues around asylum, refugees and migration in Leeds”) but it’s Refugee Week, and we’re feeling relaxed about the rules 

Humanitarian cash vouchers should encourage spending on essentials, but as well distributing money to beneficiaries equally in the household leading to effective mechanism process

 1       How are aid agencies distributing cash vouchers?

  • Humanitarian aid agencies have relied on cash vouchers instead of ‘real cash’ for a long time, which allows beneficiaries to spend on food, products and services.
  • The problem is that not many places accept aid vouchers given by humanitarian agencies such as the UNHCR, NRC, Oxfam, etc.
  • In other cases, god forbid, but technology fails in the middle east, especially with the ongoing war and lack of electricity.
  • The problem is that aid agencies only distributes the vouchers to the head of the family either mom or dad who buys the essential needs for the family.
  • Aid agencies have pre-connection with suppliers already in the local market which discourages beneficiaries from going elsewhere to buy.

2       To address lack of cash vouchers success in humanitarian perspective for the poor, the following are some solutions:

  • Humanitarian aid agencies should continue to play a proactive role in the ongoing humanitarian crisis where there is a need i.e. Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon, etc.
  • A basic study on the main problems with cash vouchers need to be picked up directly by surveying the beneficiaries which includes both parents and children in some cases.
  • The negative things about using mobile technology and voucher cards in the program need to be highlighted.
  • The level of communication between the beneficiary and the aid agency providing the cash voucher need to be strengthen.
  • If recipients are living in a refugee camp e.g. Lebanon or Turkey, how likely are they able to get to a bank to get cash? And do they even have the proper identification in the said country?
  • Education on what works and what doesn’t should be shared with the household regarding cash voucher program.
  • Could the humanitarian community address weak points as to why they should not distribute ‘real cash’ while also keeping in mind partnerships and risks at the market level?

This research was conducted by the ICRAA through online from humanitarian works that of ODI and NRC on cash vouchers and real cash.




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