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  1. About

CaLP’s History

A brief history of CaLP starting with its 2005 inception.

Skip to ➡️ Milestones in detail.

The short story

In 2005 a number of organisations got together to document what had been learnt about cash-based responses in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Over time more organisations got involved and their attention shifted to the overall improvement and mainstreaming of CVA by the humanitarian sector globally.

CaLP (The Cash Learning Partnership) was officially launched in 2009, started delivering training in 2011, succeeded in integrating CVA into Sphere standards in 2011, supported the formation of the first Cash Working Group (in Kenya) in 2012 and became a membership organisation in 2016. Today CaLP connects a vibrant network of over 90+ organisations.

Some selected milestones 

Rice being offloaded from a ship in response to the Indonesian Tsunami
Rice being offloaded from a ship after the 2004 Tsunami. Humanitarian assistance was predominantly delivered through in-kind donations of goods and services. Credit: WFP/Rein Skullerud. January 2005.

2005 – After the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Save the Children UK, Oxfam GB, British Red Cross Society, Mercy Corps and Concern came together to promote good practice in both cash and voucher responses in countries affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami.  

2008 – The ‘Global Learning Partnership in Cash based Responses in Humanitarian Responses’ is formed as a 12-month programme by Oxfam GB, the British Red Cross Society, Save the Children UK, and then a little while later the Norwegian Refugee Council and Action Against Hunger. 

2009 – CaLP is officially launched with a focus on developing common standards, common monitoring tools, mainstreaming Cash and Voucher Assistance, capacity building and advocacy.  Staff are hosted by Oxfam, Action Against Hunger and the Norwegian Refugee Council. 

2011 – CaLP’s flagship training courses (Level 1 and Level 2) are developed and piloted in Kenya.  

2011 – Cash and vouchers become a companion standard under the Food Security and Nutrition section of the Sphere Handbook. 

2011 – First published in 2011, the CaLP Glossary is designed to facilitate a common understanding and harmonized use of terms and definitions for CVA. French, Spanish, German and Arabic glossaries were later published in 2019. 

2012 – First Regional Cash Working Group meeting takes place in Kenya, mobilised by CaLP.

March 2019. CWG Dashboard presentation Dakar, Senegal.
A Cash Working Group is a forum which facilitates the coordination of cash and voucher assistance within a humanitarian response.

2012 – A comparative study of emergency cash coordination mechanisms drawing from case studies in Haiti, Pakistan and the Horn of Africa recommends formalising the integration of cash coordination mechanisms within the wider humanitarian system. 

 2014 – National Cash Working Groups were mobilsed by CaLP in a number of countries. Over time, Cash Working Groups become more prevalent. 

2014 – A review of cash transfer programming and the role of CaLP recommends that CaLP should continue with an open-ended role. It is needed and it has a substantial future role in enhancing CTP, along with others.’ 

2015 – CaLP develops its capacity building strategy and in a single year delivers 44 training courses and learning events in 19 different countries. 

2016 – Following an application round in late 2014, CaLP becomes a membership organization on 1st January 2016, with 42 members. A  Technical Advisory Group is established to help steer CaLP’s technical and policy priorities, and a Board, to have strategic oversight of CaLP’s work. 

CaLP published a snapshot of CVA in both 2018 and in 2020.

2017 – Global Framework for Action produced providing a consolidated summary of the major commitments and recommendations made to improve cash and voucher assistance in humanitarian response during 2015 and 2016 including the Grand Bargain.  

2018 – CaLP publishes the first State of the World’s Cash Reportto provide a neutral and critical analysis of the current state of CVA globally.  

2018 – CaLP worked with Sphere to ensure the comprehensive inclusion of CVA in the new Sphere Handbook.  

2019 – CaLP publishes ‘The Future of Financial Assistance: An outlook to 2030’ which maps out potential scenarios for how financial assistance might develop, the key drivers influencing these changes, and what this will mean for humanitarian action. 

2020 – Based on extensive consultation, CaLP publishes a new strategy outlining how it will progressively activate the potential of the entire network as the primary means of achieving change. 

2020 – The State of the World’s Cash 2020 is published providing a comprehensive snapshot of cash and voucher assistance, with significant recommendations for anyone interested in humanitarian action.

CaLP membership event in Dakar. A selection of member logos in the background. November 2019.

2021 – CaLP’s flagship training course, Core CVA Skills for Programme Staff, is converted into a free online learning course available on CaLP’s Cash Learning Hub. 

2021– As of May 2021, CaLP has 93 members from across the sector, including local and international nongovernmental organisations, United Nations agencies, the Red Cross/Crescent Movement, donors, specialist social innovation, technology and financial services companies, researchers and academics, and individual practitioners. 

Milestones in detail

Early years/set-up

  • 2005 – After the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Save the Children UK, Oxfam GB, British Red Cross Society, Mercy Corps and Concern came together to promote good practice in both cash and voucher responses in countries affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami.  
  • 2005 – The ‘ODI HPG Tsunami Cash
    Learning from cash responses to the tsunami - report front cover
    An early report triggered by the 2004 tsunami

    Learning Project’ saw the production of  reports and case studies on the cash-based response to the tsunami, focused on food security and livelihoods. What would eventually become the Cash Learning Partnership emerged from this project.  

  • 2008 – The ‘Global Learning Partnership in Cash based Responses in Humanitarian Responses’ is formed as a 12-month programme by Oxfam GB, the British Red Cross Society, Save the Children UK, and then a little while later the Norwegian Refugee Council and Action Against Hunger. 
  • 2009 – CaLP is officially launched with a focus on developing common standards, common monitoring tools, mainstreaming Cash and Voucher Assistance, capacity building and advocacy.  Staff are hosted by Oxfam, Action Against Hunger and the Norwegian Refugee Council. 
  • 2010 – CaLP hires 5 country level focal points to engage in contingency planning, training local governments and facilitating learning and coordination. 

Organisational growth points

  • 2010 – CaLP opens an office in the Oxford, UK. 
  • 2012 – CaLP opens an office for the West Africa region based in Dakar, Senegal.

    Participants engaging in a regional workshop held by the CaLP West Africa Team
    Workshop on CVA and risks in West Africa. November 2019.
  • 2014 – A review of cash transfer programming and the role of CaLP recommends that CaLP  should continue with an open-ended role. It is needed and it has a substantial future role in  enhancing CTP, along with others.’ 
  • 2015 – A new regional office for North-America opens in Washington DC. 
  • 2018 – The North-America office expands to work with actors in the Latin America Caribbean region, thus becoming the Americas office. 
  • 2020 – Based on extensive consultation, CaLP publishes a new strategy outlining how it will progressively activate the potential of the entire network as the primary means of achieving change.  

Training

  • 2011 – CaLP’s flagship training courses (Level 1 and Level 2) are developed and piloted in Kenya.  
  • 2015 – CaLP develops its capacity building strategy and in a single year delivers 44 training courses and learning events in 19 different countries. 
  • 2016 – CaLP’s Level 1 training course is replaced by a new and more focused orientation course; “CVA: The Fundamentals”. It is made available both as a face-to-face training course and an e-learning course.  
  • 2017 – CaLP Launches the Cash Learning Hub on Kaya, a one-stop shop for all cash-related training and learning resources, including a wide range of new online learning on CVA. For the first time, all CaLP face-to-face training materials are made available for download as open-source materials.

    CaLP trainer presenting information about e-vouchers and paper vouchers
    CaLP training in Sierra Leone, 2019.
  • 2018 –  CaLP releases, promotes and delivers its new Core CVA Skills courses targeting: programme staff, managers and operations staff. They replace the outdated Level 2 course. 
  • 2021 – From 2011 to the end of March 2021, 26,975 CaLP e-learning courses have been completed. 
  • 2021 – From January 2017 to the end of March 2021, there have been 197 CaLP-accredited face-to-face courses delivered, with 3,747 attendees. This level of work was only possible thanks to CaLP’s cohort of 51 certified trainers and training partner organisations able to deliver the training in a variety of languages. 
  • 2021 – CaLP’s flagship training course, Core CVA Skills for Programme Staff, is converted into a free online learning course available on CaLP’s Cash Learning Hub.  

Members, Board and Technical Advisory Group

  • 2014 – A review of cash and voucher programming and the Cash Learning Partnership recommends opening membership beyond the 5 founding members and also that a Board and Technical Advisory Group should be formed.  
  • 2016 – Members come together for the
    CaLP's first meeting of the Technical advisory group
    First meeting of CaLP’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

    first time at the Membership Launch Event at the Red Cross Headquarters in April, in Washington DC, followed by the first in person meetings of the newly formed Technical Advisory Group and Board. 

  • 2016 –West Africa Regional Membership Event took place in December, the purpose being to build relationships and understanding amongst CaLP and its members in West Africa.  
  • 2017 – CaLP publishes a Membership Statement which outlines what it means to be a member of the CaLP Network. 
  • 2021– as of May 2021, CaLP has 93 members from across the sector, including local and international nongovernmental organisations, United Nations agencies, the Red Cross/Crescent Movement, donors, specialist social innovation, technology and financial services companies, researchers and academics, and individual practitioners. 

Building community and making connections

  • 2005 – CaLP sets up a community of cash practitioners to connect with one another via the DGroup platform. In 2012 a group is also set up in French, and a Spanish DGroup is established in 2020.
  • 2011 – First blog published – exploring new technology being used by WFP to deliver humanitarian cash transfers in Kenya.  
  • 2012 – First Regional Cash Working Group meeting takes place in Kenya, mobilised by CaLP.
  • 2014 – National Cash Working Groups mobilised by CaLP in a number of countries. Over time, Cash Working Groups become more prevalent. 
  • 2017 – The Global Cash Forum and CaLP Members Day took place in Geneva in June. The forum featured discussions on operational models and scaling up cash. 
  • 2017 – Global Framework for Action was produced providing a consolidated summary of the major commitments and recommendations made to improve cash and voucher assistance in humanitarian response during 2015 and 2016 including the Grand Bargain. 
  • 2018 – Cash Week 2018 in London takes place bringing together a range of stakeholders to vision the future of humanitarian financial assistance. 
  • 2019 – CaLP starts a podcast – the ‘CashCast’ consists of interviews with experts to explore critical debates in humanitarian cash and voucher assistance.  
  • 2019 – Cash Week 2019 takes place in London and online, with events across the regions throughout December.  

Making the case for change – research and publications

  • 2016 – ‘The Power of Financial Aid’ website is published with the aim of becoming a go-to place for journalists seeking out information about cash and voucher assistance. 
  • 2020 – The State of the World’s Cash 2020 is published providing a comprehensive snapshot of cash and voucher assistance, with significant recommendations for anyone interested in humanitarian action. 

Providing guidance and setting standards

  • 2011 – Cash and vouchers become a companion standard under the Food Security and Nutrition section of the Sphere Handbook. 
  • 2011 – First published in 2011, the CaLP Glossary is designed to facilitate a
    Front cover of CaLP's Glossary
    Front cover of CaLP’s English Glossary

    common understanding and harmonized use of terms and definitions for CVA. French, Spanish, German and Arabic glossaries were later published in 2019. 

  • 2017 – CaLP launches the Programme Quality Toolbox, to support practitioners with the development, maintenance and review of quality Cash and Voucher Assistance. The toolbox makes it easy to explore and select the right industry guidance. 
  • 2017 – Monitoring guidance was published to support practitioners to incorporate CVA into their monitoring frameworks. 
  • 2018 – Guidance is developed to inform the global debate around coordination of cash transfer programming, including commissioning the Global Public Policy Institute report ‘Cash Coordination in Humanitarian Contexts’. 
  • 2018 – CaLP worked with Sphere to
    Sphere handbook 2018
    Cash was comprehensively covered in the 2018 Sphere Handbook

    ensure the comprehensive inclusion of CVA in the new Sphere Handbook.  

  • 2019 – In partnership with CaLP, PHAP launched the certification in Cash and Voucher Assistance Programme, designed for humanitarian practitioners who want to demonstrate essential knowledge and skills needed by everyone working in the area of CVA. 
  • 2020 – Guidance around CVA in the context of COVID-19 was created through the crowdsourcing information from across the network. The guidance was developed rapidly and published in four languages.