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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 5 of 182 Glossary terms

Hard Currency

Hard currency refers to money issued by a nation seen as politically and economically stable. Hard currencies usually represent a large part of a country’s/central bank’s foreign reserves and serve for backing a local currency. They can sometimes be accepted as a form of payment for goods and services and even be preferred over domestic currency. The typical example is US dollars (USD).

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


Harmonization refers to coordinated, collective processes relating to key programme design elements such as transfer values, duration, and targeting criteria. These are intended to provide a level of coherence, consistency, and fairness across different interventions implemented by different organizations in the same areas. In practice harmonization processes may recommend that all agencies use the same transfer values, targeting criteria, etc., or they may provide frameworks to allow a range of transfer values and/or criteria to be used, but in a systematic and coordinated way.


Hawala refers to an informal funds transfer system that allows for the domestic or international transfer of funds from one person to another without the actual movement of money. It exists outside of traditional financial systems (e.g., banks, remittance companies) and is based on trust between a huge network of service providers – known as hawaladars . This type of system was originally developed to facilitate trade where conventional banking institutions were either absent, weak, or unsafe. Transactions are usually fast and cost-effective and are often used for remittances. The word ‘hawala’ means ‘transfer’ in Arabic, and in Hindi and Urdu is defined as ‘trust’. Hawaladars are primarily located in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. It is a simple process that requires no documentation and is, therefore, anonymous. Because of its anonymity, hawala has also been a means for illegal activity (e.g., money laundering, terrorist financing), leading many countries to prohibit or heavily regulate its use. However, in some contexts, hawala may be the only practical means of delivering cash assistance.

[Adapted from Adeso (2012), Investopedia and Wikipedia]

Horizontal expansion (of a programme)

‘Horizontal expansion’ denotes the temporary inclusion of a new disaster or crisis-affected caseload into a social protection programme, by either extending geographical coverage, enrolling more eligible households in existing areas, or altering the enrolment criteria. ‘Horizontal expansion’ is part of a typology of options for shock responsive social protection, for conceptualising possible linkages between humanitarian assistance and social protection. Strictly speaking horizontal expansion to also apply to other types of programming, including humanitarian interventions, which are extended to new caseloads.

[Definition adapted from OPM (2019)]


Hyperinflation describes rapid, excessive, and out-of-control price rises of 50% per month or higher. Hyperinflation arises under extreme conditions, including: i) depressed economic conditions, including low levels of local economic confidence, particularly in the stability of the local currency (potentially accompanied by deteriorating levels of international reserves), and an expansionary monetary policy (excessive printing of local currency) not corresponded by growth; ii) deteriorated socio-economic conditions and rule of law; and iii) high levels of domestic conflict and government instability. It causes people to need more and more money to buy products and services, while corresponding increases in wages and/or social protection payments typically don’t keep pace with price increases, leading to a deterioration of purchasing power.

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