The Human Impact

Cash aid transfers should be standardised – report

April 16, 2012

Aid agencies and donors should develop a “tool box” for the use and distribution of cash transfers to improve effective aid delivery, according to a new report from the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP).

Cash and voucher programmes are increasingly being used in regions where security problems interfere with the delivery of such traditional forms of aid as food.

An estimated 4 million people in the Horn of Africa are now receiving famine assistance via cash and voucher programmes from non-governmental charities and United Nations (U.N.) agencies, according to CaLP.

The study, titled “New Technologies in Cash Transfers and Humanitarian Assistance“, was conducted because cash and voucher programmes have become more common, partly due to easier access to electronic banking technology,  but there are no established standards.

The lack of industry-wide standards led researchers to investigate some of the benefits and problems associated with the process.

As part of a more standardised approach, an agency should be established to keep on top of advances in communication technology to be a point of reference for technology in times of crises, the report said.

The agency should also advocate for the extension of existing mobile networks and branchless banking, it added.

Picture Credit: Displaced women wait to receive non-food items from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the Maajo settlement for the internally displaced people in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, August 31, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

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