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Policy paper

Partnering for Success: E-cash use in humanitarian programming

2015 — By Vaidehi Krishnan

In recent years, new technologies have facilitated electronic cash transfers (e-transfers) to disaster- and conflict-affected populations.

Utilizing e-cash in emergency response requires close partnerships with Financial Service Providers (FSPs), often in places where electronic payments are still just gaining acceptance. In these contexts, implementing agencies may wonder: What do successful e-cash partnerships look like? How can humanitarian organizations and FSPs best combine expertise to provide assistance in a timely, transparent and dignified manner? Do commonalities exist across programs in different regions and with different goals? If so, what can we learn from these experiences.

This report summarizes common challenges and learnings from e-cash programs across a variety of different geographies and delivery mechanisms. Based on conversations with 11 programs managers and technical specialists, it focuses on the experiences of humanitarian agencies implementing cash programs and program participants,rather than FSPs.