Cash-Based Interventions and IDP Protection

Cash-Based Interventions (CBIs), including cash and vouchers, provide a flexible mechanism for delivery of assistance that enables IDPs to meet their needs with autonomy and dignity, while also supporting local markets and host communities. Cash assistance that can be spent by beneficiaries as they see fit, known as multi-purpose cash grants, allow individuals to address their diverse needs in an efficient and comprehensive manner.

CBIs can help to reduce risks of negative coping mechanisms, such as child labour, transactional sex, and early marriage. Evidence shows that CBIs promote children’s attendance in school and ease their parents’ or caretakers’ stress. When used as part of comprehensive protection interventions, including case management and psychosocial services, CBIs have been shown to contribute to the prevention of and response to GBV.

Research also indicates that the risks that do arise in CBIs are usually related to programme design, rather than being inherent to the use of cash. Good programme design requires protection risk and benefit analyses to prevent and mitigate risks, and identify opportunities for CBI to support protection.

CBIs can be appropriate in any displacement setting where markets are functioning. They have proven to be a cost-effective tool to allow persons of concern to meet their own needs, facilitating self-reliance during displacement and in the transition to durable solutions. CBIs spent by IDPs in a host community can reinforce community relations and contribute to local integration.

Programmes that include CBIs, like all other humanitarian activities, should incorporate the following protection principles:

Safety & Dignity  

• CBI delivery mechanisms, which include cards, phones and accounts, can be more discreet than in-kind assistance, thus reducing risk for theft and extortion.

• CBIs afford much greater choice and dignity than in-kind assistance, allowing people to meet their diverse needs in a personalized manner.

Accountability & Participation

• CBI delivery tools like mobile phones can also serve as feedback and communications mechanisms.

• CBIs encourage discussion on protection risks and capacities, socioeconomic vulnerability and their overlaps – a participatory approach with robust accountability mechanisms is key.

• IDPs often express a preference for CBIs to in-kind assistance, particularly in urban areas.

Inclusion & Access

• Marginalized groups, minorities, and persons with specific needs may be better able to enjoy their rights and access basic goods and services with cash, which is more flexible than in-kind assistance.

• CBI delivery methods can improve access to assistance for those persons often isolated and excluded from traditional assistance delivery systems, even in remote areas.

For more information on CBIs and protection please refer to the following page.