Delivering Money: Cash transfer mechanisms in emergencies

There is growing use of the provision of cash as a mechanism to provide relief to people after disasters, on the part of international aid agencies and governments. The banking industry is also undergoing rapid changes, with new technologies providing different options for making payments and delivering banking services.

The use of cash, as opposed to ‘in kind’ assistance, remains a relatively new approach and aid agencies are at the early stages of developing guidelines, policies and organisational capacity to implement cash projects. Project managers lack support and guidance about the practicalities of how most efficiently and effectively to deliver cash to people. Too often that means that they have to start from scratch in assessing and choosing between different options for cash delivery.

This report documents lessons learned from previous experience and provides guidance for project managers needing to make choices about how best to deliver cash to people. It also explores the potential for stronger partnerships with private sector providers, and looks at potentially useful developments in the payments industry. It suggests the key questions that need to be asked in assessing the choice between different options. 

– Save the Children, 2010

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