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Guidance Notes: Cash Transfers in Livelihoods Programming- West Africa

2015 — By Cédric Elluard

A growing acceptance of cash transfers as an inter-sectorial tool is accompanied by a better understanding of this approach and its potential to break the cycle of poverty, after much discussion on the role cash transfers have to play in building resilience.

In the Sahel, food security experts have become very skilled in the handling of cash transfers. Their use in the region has progressively been extended to other sectors, such as nutrition and livelihoods. Humanitarian actors involved in contexts of chronic crisis are, bit by bit, rethinking their approaches, working more and more closely with development actors to increase the impact of their work in the long term and deal with the causes of poverty.

Moreover, efforts to protect and strengthen livelihoods are focusing more and more on the use of cash transfers as an implementation mechanism. In order to enable knowledge and best practice regarding the use of cash transfers to be shared, a learning workshop on cash transfers and livelihoods was organised in Dakar (Senegal), thanks to ERC funding from ECHO. This learning workshop aimed to gather and share good practice and information regarding the implementation of cash transfers in the area of livelihoods, and to serve as a basis for drafting these guidance notes on using cash transfers within the framework of a livelihoods project.

These guidance notes are primarily intended for those involved in designing and implementing programmes that include cash transfer components within a livelihood support framework.

In particular, they are aimed at:
1. humanitarian workers who have some expertise in cash transfers but limited knowledge of the livelihoods sector
2. and technical workers and livelihoods experts with limited skills in matters concerning cash transfers