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Can Cash Change the Humanitarian System?

In this episode we reflect on how far cash has changed the humanitarian system. We question whether it has lived up to early expectations or whether the system is using cash without fundamentally changing. What's needed to make the humanitarian system better at responding to needs and preferences of people in crisis?

7 December 2023

In this first episode of Series 2 of CashCast, we begin by taking a high-level view of the international humanitarian system to understand expectations around cash and voucher assistance, and what’s been achieved.

While this may seem like a simple question, throughout the episode we discover hidden depths.

Our guest, Christina Bennet, makes us differentiate the role of cash when it comes to incremental and transformational change, and considers how far cash could go in pushing greater change within the humanitarian system and shifting power.

Cash is a tool, it’s a medium, it’s a channel – a really exceptional one for reform. But it, in and of itself, isn’t the reform.” Christina Bennett.

We invite you to listen in on these fascinating and in-depth reflections.

CashCast is an occasional podcast from the CALP Network that looks in depth at the critical debates in humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA).

Your host

Karen Peachey

Karen joined CALP in early 2017 and became the Director in April 2018. She has worked in both development and humanitarian contexts since the 1990s. Among many other things, Karen has a keen interest in networks, the power of collective action, and how systems change happens.



Christina Bennett

Christina is the CEO of Start Network, a growing global membership of local, national and international NGOs. She has more than 20 years of experience in humanitarian policy and practice, including field work in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Sudan.