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Guidelines and Tools

Guide to Cash-for-Work Programming

2007 — By Mercy Corps

Cash-for-Work is a short-term intervention used by humanitarian assistance organizations to provide temporary employment in public projects (such as repairing roads, clearing debris or re-building infrastructure) to the most vulnerable segments of a population. The methodology is relatively new, but its use has become increasingly common in food insecure, disaster-affected or post-conflict environments.

In this document, Mercy Corps examines the process of Cash-for-Work (CfW) implementation and provides a general methodology that can be adapted to the many different countries and contexts in which we work. Based on our own experience implementing Cash-for-Work programs, funded by many different donors, as well as referencing published studies by Oxfam GB and the Overseas Development Institute, Mercy Corps’ Guide to Cash-for-Work Programming addresses the rationale of Cash-for-Work and describes when the use of the methodology is most appropriate. The Guide provides simple, useful tools for determining the appropriateness of CfW, a general framework for implementation, and the forms and documents necessary for implementing CfW programs. This guide is meant to act only as a general guideline. Each program will vary in context, and the CfW process should be adjusted accordingly.