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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 6 of 182 Glossary terms

Value Chain

Describes the full range of activities that is required to bring a product or service from its conception to its end use and beyond, and involves design, production, marketing, distribution, and support to the final consumer. As a raw material travels along the chain, each activity adds to the value of the good or service until the final product is delivered to the consumer. The activities that comprise a value chain can be contained within a single enterprise or divided among different enterprises.

[Adapted from: Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS) – Third Edition]

Value Voucher

A value voucher has a denominated currency value and can be redeemed with participating vendors for goods or services of an equivalent monetary cost. Value vouchers provide relatively more flexibility and choice than commodity vouchers but are still inherently restricted as they can only be redeemed with designated vendors or service providers. Some value vouchers may also have restrictions on the range of commodities that can be purchased, exclude specific commodities, or be time-bound (e.g., expiry date).


A vendor is a supplier of goods and services. Vendors 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 vendors to participate should take account of both their capacities and potential vulnerabilities to avoid adversely affecting the business of smaller or more vulnerable vendors. The need for market support interventions might also be considered in tandem.

Vertical Expansion (of a programme)

‘Vertical expansion’ denotes when the benefit value or the duration of a social protection programme is temporarily increased for some or all existing beneficiaries currently benefiting from the programme. This is one option in a typology of options for shock responsive social protection, conceptualising possible linkages between humanitarian assistance and social protection.

[Adapted from OPM (2019)]

Village Savings and Loans (VSLA)

An informal microfinance model based solely on member savings and small, community-managed groups. Members pool savings and provide loans with interest to each other. The interest is then disbursed to group members, based on their level of savings, at the end of a time-limited cycle. VSLA is not a form of cash assistance.

Voucher (key term)

A paper voucher or e-voucher that can be exchanged for a set value, quantity and/or type of goods or services, denominated either as a currency value (e.g., $15), a predetermined range of commodities (e.g., fruits and vegetables) or specific services (e.g., a medical treatment), or a combination of value and commodities. Vouchers are restricted by default, although the degree of restriction will vary based on the programme design and type of voucher. They are redeemable with preselected vendors or service providers or in ‘fairs’ created by the implementing agency.