PROTECTION MAINSTREAMING is the process of incorporating protection principles at all stages of the programme cycle in humanitarian programmes, which could be intended to meet one or more basic needs objectives or sector-specific outcomes, such as food security, livelihoods, education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All (WASH), shelter and health.
Research indicates that the risks that arise in Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) are usually related to programme design, rather than being inherent to the use of cash. Good programme design therefore requires careful protection risk and benefit analyses to prevent and mitigate risks, and identify opportunities for CVA to support protection benefits.

Programmes that include CVA, like all other humanitarian activities, should at a minimum, incorporate the following protection principles:

Safety & Dignity

Prevent and minimize any unintended negative effects of CVA and actively design CVA in a way that promotes the safety and dignity of affected populations. For example:

  • Delivering cash through mobile money or accounts can be more discreet than over-the-counter cash distributions, thus reducing risk for theft and extortion.
  • Multipurpose cash can afford much greater choice and dignity than sectorial voucher assistance, allowing people to meet their diverse needs in a personalized manner. 
  • Recognize the important role of financial service providers in delivering humanitarian cash assistance to vulnerable populations and identify, monitor and mitigate risks of abuse by private sector service providers.

Accountability & Participation

Encourage processes that allow affected populations to participate throughout the CVA project cycle and set-up appropriate mechanisms to encourage two-way communication. For example:

  • Include affected populations in the identification of their own protection risks, benefits and self-protection mechanisms during cash feasibility studies and CVA design.
  • Some CVA delivery mechanisms like mobile phones can be a powerful tool to enhance two-way communication and serve as a channel for feedback and complaints beyond the CVA intervention, when linked with existing complaints and response mechanisms.

Meaningful Access

Arrange for people’s access to CVA – in proportion to need and without any barriers (e.g. discrimination). Pay special attention to individuals and groups who may be particularly vulnerable or have difficulty accessing cash & voucher assistance, markets or service providers. For example:

  • Consider setting-up community-based protection mechanisms to assist persons with specific needs to access and spend CVA
  • Marginalized groups, minorities, and persons with specific needs may be better able to enjoy their rights and access to basic goods and services with cash, which  can be more flexible than in-kind assistance or vouchers. Listen to their preferences and aim to take them into consideration during CVA design.

The Global Protection Cluster (GPC)’s Task Team on Law and Policy conducted a mapping exercise to capture up-to-date information on countries with IDP laws and policies. Read More

The first point of contact for all Field Support requests and queries.
Send Request


Find the necessary tools on the coordination of a field protection cluster. Read More