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Cash 101: Cash and Voucher Assistance Explained

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Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance statement: The need for a humanitarian policy refresh

Statement from Sarah Charles, the Assistant to the Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) on the policy process to renew and refresh our CVA policy commitments

Over the last few years we have watched development in reverse: the COVID-19 pandemic, heightened and prolonged conflict, and severe climate events increase needs and cause displacement, disrupt the global supply chain, depreciate currency, and increase food and fuel prices. As the gap between rising numbers of people in crisis and limited humanitarian budgets widens, the humanitarian system is being put to the test.

But we have seen a bright spot: over the past two decades, the growth of cash and voucher assistance (CVA) is putting dollars directly into the hands that need it most. CVA is the preferred form of assistance for most people in most crises and, when done well, offers enormous return on investment for recipients and donors. CVA has come a long way – and we cannot lose momentum now. That is why we are calling for the humanitarian community to step in and step up, and renew our collective commitment to CVA as a powerful tool that makes real and meaningful impacts in the lives of the most vulnerable.

To make real progress requires engagement from across the humanitarian system and consistent self-assessment to ensure our efforts are responsive to the needs and preferences of the most vulnerable people in crisis situations.

Together with the CALP Network we convened a high-level meeting to launch a series of dialogues through learning events, workshops, and roundtables that will identify and address various critical issues and barriers to delivering more effective CVA.

We invite you to join us as we focus on:

  1. People-Centered Response: Reaching the most people in the ways they prefer in the most effective manner
  2. Localization: Empowering local actors to lead and deliver their own humanitarian assistance while holding donors accountable
  3. Partnership and Collaboration: Working with each other, local actors, civil societies, and the many other stakeholders make CVA more seamless and impactful

Collectively we can identify key commitments in the field of CVA that will ensure a more effective, dignified, and inclusive humanitarian system for all.

Our discussion kicked off on June 15th and will continue throughout the year.  Please follow the CALP Network to get notified of upcoming meetings.

Cash 101: Cash and Voucher Assistance Explained

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