Food Security and Nutrition Network

Why not cash (or vouchers)?

Why not cash (or vouchers)?

Posted by northamerica on 23 Jan 2017

The idea of providing assistance using either cash or vouchers as appropriate rather than in-kind is generating considerable debate .

In just the past month, articles illustrating different aspects of the issues surrounding cash have appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, The BBC, IRIN News, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, etc. Several of these articles take positions on a recent independent review of UK cash programming. Other articles are more general in nature, particularly given the relatively large share of cash and voucher assistance going to the Syria crisis regionally. Even The New York Times published an article on this subject in September.

Together, however, these articles aim to raise awareness for the general public about the potential benefits and risks of cash and vouchers as a tool for efficient and effective assistance.

What do you think? Is increasing market and digital infrastructure relevant to the decision about whether or not cash, vouchers, or in-kind assistance is most appropriate in humanitarian or development contexts? How does the evidence about risks of cash and voucher programming compare to our perceptions of the risks?

TOPS and the Cash Learning Partnership welcome your ideas!