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Cash 101: Cash and Voucher Assistance Explained

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Can Cash Make the Humanitarian System More Accountable?

In this episode we explore accountability issues within the humanitarian system, their root causes and potential solutions. We ask if cash and voucher assistance has a part to play in improving accountability, and what that could look like.

7 December 2023

Even though accountability and community engagement tend to be at the top of most check lists for humanitarian aid design and implementation, their fulfilment seems to be far from satisfactory. It seems that there are issues preventing humanitarian actors from being truly accountable to the people they serve.

Where do those issues come from? Is there an easy fix, or is there a more deep-rooted problem? And where does Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA), fit into that? There are two things to consider. First, are the issues the same for CVA as for the rest of the sector? And second, might cash have a role to play in terms of addressing accountability issues?

With provoking interventions from our guests, Caroline, Innocent, Meg and Christina, we analyse and reflect on these questions, looking towards possible solutions.

“If we don’t involve the community, if they don’t participate, if we don’t hear their voice. Then they will be receiving our cash as another handout that has just arrived.” Caroline Teti.

“People just want things to work. You know, it’s kind of common sense… And I think sometimes, even though that’s very obvious, we don’t take that into account when we have these endless discussions about things like people centred aid and accountability.” Meg Sattler.

“Accountability and transparency and learning pieces are really key, and that is a difficult value to adhere to sometimes for leadership.” Laura Walker.

“Solutions sit in country, with organizations, with individuals, with coalitions and networks…And we should be supporting those ideas rather than thinking that we have all of the solutions ourselves.” Christina Bennett

“Good accountability is first that people should know what they’re entitled to. Because I know I’m entitled to this, then I can measure it against everything that I am going to receive.” Innocent Tshilombo.

Tune in and let’s find out!

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

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.

Guests

 

Caroline Teti

Caroline is the Global Director of Recipient Advocacy at GiveDirectly. She is a social scientist trained in Development Communications, Gender, and Human Rights with 20 years of experience working for non-profits in Africa.

Innocent Tshilombo

Innocent is a humanitarian whose experience as a refugee has strongly informed his perspectives. He is the founder of Kakuma Ventures in the camp and in 2020/2021 he pursued his Master’s in humanitarian action at the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies.

Meg Sattler

Meg is a Humanitarian Aid consultant specialising in Accountability to Affected Populations. Currently the Director at, Ground Truth Solutions, she has also held senior roles with OCHA, UNICEF, the Start and CDAC Networks and the UN World Food Programme.

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.

Laura Walker McDonald

Laura is a technologist, lawyer, and strategist with more than 15 years of global experience in the aid and development space. She is currently the Senior Advisor, Digital Technology and Data Protection for the Regional Delegation for the US and Canada of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Cash 101: Cash and Voucher Assistance Explained

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