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Cash Transfer Programming in Armed Conflict: The ICRC’s Experience

2018 — By Hugo Slim, Rachel Banfield, Thierno Souleymane Adenhof

Money is the main means of survival for most people around the world. That remains the case in situations of armed conflict, when having cash to buy essential goods can mean the difference between life and death.
The ICRC’s experience shows that cash is an essential tool in humanitarian action in armed conflict. This report suggests two important principles of Cash Transfer Programming (CTP) in armed conflict: first, although cash is often best, it is not always best. Second, just “doing cash” is not necessarily a success in itself.

CTP is a tool of humanitarian action, not a humanitarian outcome in itself. CTP must be implemented strategically, in pursuit of clear humanitarian goals and in line with humanitarian principles, if it is to be the best way to meet people’s needs in a particular context. For this to be the case, a context must be not only “cash ready” but also “cash wise”.