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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

Technology Service Provider

Technology service providers include providers of digital platforms, software and hardware that facilitate the planning, delivery, and monitoring of CVA and other humanitarian assistance. These
can be differentiated from the financial service providers (FSPs) and payment service providers (PSPs) who specifically provide or support CVA transfer and delivery mechanisms.

Third Party Monitoring (TPM)

Third Party Monitoring (TPM) can take a range of different forms, but generally involves the collection and validation of monitoring information using parties external to an aid agency or donor organization involved in delivering or funding a programme. In large scale CVA programmes, TPM can also take the broader form of independent MEAL provision, with the aim of strengthening the accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness of CVA, as well as contributing to wider sectoral knowledge and learning.

[Definition from CAMEALEON]

Total Cost to Transfer Ratio (TCTR)

Total cost to transfer ratio (TCTR) is a measure of the actual value of transfers received by recipients as a ratio of the costs associated with delivery, including all the transaction costs in the payment process, the direct costs associated with the project (from assessments to MEAL) as well as indirect costs. TCTR is a standard way of measuring cost efficiency that estimates the cost of the delivery of assistance and can help identify how contextual or programmematic features drive the cost per output. It uses the formula: Total Net Value of Transfers to Recipients/Total Intervention Cost (including value of the assistance transferred and indirect costs). The solution provides the value of the assistance received as a proportion of the intervention cost, which can be expressed as a percentage (e.g., 80%), ratio (e.g., 80:20) or in decimals (e.g., 0.80).

[Partially adapted from DG ECHO (2022)]


A trader buys and sells goods, and/or supplies services. A distinction is often made between wholesale traders and retail traders. Traders may be contracted by a humanitarian organisation to participate in a voucher intervention whereby recipients can redeem vouchers for products or services from them. Processes for selecting traders to participate should take account of both their capacities and potential vulnerabilities to avoid adversely affecting the business of smaller or more vulnerable traders. The need for market support interventions might also be considered in tandem.


Transfer Value (key term)

Transfer value is the amount (usually a currency value) provided directly to a CVA recipient. Transfer values (along with number and frequency of transfers) are calculated based on the intervention’s objectives, often using tools such as a Minimum Expenditure Baskets (MEB) and gap analysis. Transfer value typically refers to a single transfer amount, rather than the total amount transferred to a recipient over the course of an intervention (i.e., from multiple transfers). Net transfer value refers to the total amount transferred directly to recipients over the course of an intervention. Transfer values do not include transaction costs.