Skip to main content
We are sorry but the page you are looking for is not available in the language you have selected, please go to the corresponding homepage
  1. Home
  2. Resources

Glossary of Terms

First published in 2011, the CALP Glossary is designed to facilitate a common understanding and harmonized use of terms and definitions for cash and voucher assistance (CVA). 

It should be noted that these definitions apply to the use of CVA in humanitarian programming and may not reflect how some terms are understood in other contexts or by other audiences. 

The glossary, last updated in 2023, is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish in both an online and PDF format. 

It is also available in German and Portuguese but in a PDF format only. 


Showing 9 of 182 Glossary terms

E-Cash (key term)

Any electronic/digital substitute for the direct transfer of physical currency that provides full, unrestricted flexibility for purchases. It may be stored, spent, and/or received through various mechanisms including mobile phone/mobile wallet, prepaid ATM/debit card, smart card or other electronic transfer. E-cash (or digital cash) transfers will usually provide the option to withdraw funds as physical cash if required.

E-Voucher (key term)

E-vouchers encompass cards, codes, or digital tokens that are electronically redeemed at a participating vendor. E-vouchers can represent currency or commodity values and are stored and redeemed using a range of electronic devices (e.g., mobile phone, smart card, POS system ).


An e-wallet or digital wallet is a software application, usually for mobile phones, that enables people to make digital transactions and purchases. An e-wallet is often linked to an individuals’ bank account. They may also be used to store other information and products such as coupons, gift cards, tickets, and identification documents.

Early Response

Early Response refers to actions that are undertaken right after a disaster occurs, often based on systems and planning set up in advance to facilitate a rapid response. Anticipatory (or early) action is different from ‘early response’ insofar as the former begins before the hazard and/or threat strikes whereas the latter begins after it has struck.

[Definition adapted from DG ECHO (2021)]


Effectiveness relates to how well outputs are converted to outcomes and impacts. Cost effectiveness is the extent to which the programme has achieved or is expected to achieve its results (outcomes/impacts) at a lower cost compared with alternatives.


Efficiency refers to the ability of a programme to achieve its intended objectives at the least cost possible in terms of use of inputs (e.g., capital, labour, and other inputs). Cost efficiency relates to the administrative cost of a programme relative to the amount disbursed.

Enabling Environment

The enabling environment , in the context of markets, are rules that influence how a market system works. If the rules make the market system work badly, they are sometimes called ‘dis-enabling’ factors. Understanding the enabling environment forms one ‘layer’ in market system mapping and analysis.


Encashment refers to the actions undertaken by recipients to access their cash, e.g., cashing a cheque, money order, bond, note, or similar, or using an ATM or agent (e.g., mobile money, shopkeeper) to withdraw cash. The broader encashment process managed by the implementing agency may also be understood to include reconciliation of payments.

Exchange Rates

Exchange rates are the values of one country’s currency in relation to another currency. If the value of the national currency falls, it becomes more expensive to buy imported goods, while exports from the country become more competitive. Official exchange rates are set by Central Banks, so that governments can trade with each other, and to enable foreign currency to be bought and sold by people, banks, businesses, etc. The most frequently used systems for setting rates are floating exchange rates (market forces determine a currency’s value); fixed exchange rates (the Central Bank sets the currency’s value relative to another currency); and exchange rate bands or currency bands (the Central Bank allows the market to determine the currency’s value within certain bands, and intervenes otherwise)

Market exchange rates are used by commercial banks and formal forex traders. Parallel market exchange rates might also arise if official and commercial rates are overvalued, and/or there are government restrictions on commercial currency exchanges, meaning such exchanges may be illegal (‘black’ market). Preferential exchange rates can occur where a country implements a system of multiple foreign exchange rates at which its currency is legally exchanged. Some currency users may have an exchange rate that is better for them or ‘preferential’.

[Definition adapted from Good Practice Review on Cash Assistance in Contexts of High Inflation and Depreciation ]