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Global Protection Cluster

Cash and Voucher Assistance for Protection
The Issue

Crisis-affected people, particularly those forced to flee their homes, often lose the opportunity to earn money. Without money to meet their needs, people may resort to harmful coping strategies, including the sale or exchange of sex, child labour, family separation or forced marriage.

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Many of the crisis-affected people that Protection Clusters serve live in places where they have access to markets and services. Providing them with cash or voucher assistance (CVA) enables them to prioritize and fulfil their needs in an independent and dignified manner, reducing their vulnerability to many protection risks.  
CVA also has benefits for the local economy and can contribute to peaceful coexistence between displaced people and host communities. 

Mainstreaming protection in CVA is critical to the well-being and protection of vulnerable populations, ensuring adherence of rights and accountability to affected populations. On the other hand, within protection programming, CVA can be a flexible and cost-effective mechanism for delivery of assistance. When used as part of comprehensive protection interventions, including strong referral mechanisms to case management and psychosocial services, CVA has also shown the potential to contribute to specific protection outcomes such as GBV prevention and response, child protection, access to documentation, supporting access to national services, recovery of victims of explosive ordnance and furthering access to financial inclusion and livelihood opportunities – to name a few. 

The Approach 

Following the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016, humanitarian organizations committed to increase the use and coordination of CVA when delivering assistance to affected populations.  

Among the six commitments made, aid organizations and donors agreed to “build an evidence base to assess the costs, benefits, impacts and risks of cash (including on protection) relative to in-kind assistance, service delivery and vouchers, and combinations thereof”. The Grand Bargain specifically states that “delivering cash should, where possible and appropriate, use, link or align with local and national mechanisms such as social protection systems.” 

In line with these commitments, the Global Protection Cluster promotes the appropriate use of Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) in humanitarian settings and ensuring that associated protection benefits are maximised, and protection risks minimised through the coordination of CVA and Protection practitioners during the program cycle. The GPC Task Team on Cash for Protection is the main driver of CVA efforts for protection clusters. 

The Task Team on Cash for Protection  

Established in 2017, the GPC Task Team on Cash for Protection, chaired by the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) and Save the Children, aims to increase knowledge about the use of CVA in the protection sector and increase the effectiveness and quality of programmes using CVA to achieve protection outcomes. 

The Task Team:  

  • Equips protection and CVA practitioners with the knowledge, skills, guidance, and tools to use CVA for protection outcomes 

  • Supports protection and CVA practitioners to apply best practices, evidence, guidance, and tools developed/made available by the Task Team 

  • Updates best practices, evidence (and evidence gaps), guidance, tools and trainings for protection practitioners and humanitarian research stakeholders  

  • Support protection and CVA practitioners to effectively coordinate to exchange knowledge, information, and resources 

The Task Team on Cash for Protection represents a diversity of organizations, countries, experiences and skillsets on both protection and CVA. It currently hosts over 50 participants across 30 organizations. The Task Team actively coordinates with existing initiatives such as the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) and the Grand Bargain Sub workstream on Cash and Gender. 

Cash for Protection Team

Tenzin Manell

Associate Director, Cash and Livelihoods
Women’s Refugee Commission

Julia Grasset

Cash and Markets Advisor
Save the Children

Lauren Murray

Child Protection Advisor
Save the Children