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Cash in emergencies

A woman who has benefited from our cash transfer programme in Indonesia

Cash in emergencies

Giving families the flexibility to rebuild their lives

What is Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA)?

Families recovering after a disaster or living through a protracted crisis – such as drought or long-term displacement – have many different needs. But all too often, their circumstances mean they have little access to money to pay for the essentials that will keep them and their children healthy and safe.

Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) can help, by giving families the flexibility and choice they need to lead their own recovery and pay for the items they need the most. Around the world, Plan International is delivering CVA in:

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providing vouchers for displaced families to buy school equipment for their children
trained in microfinance


providing cash assistance to Syrian refugees via the post office for school fees and business start-up
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providing cash to women affected by conflict to buy food and other essentials
A woman and her baby who benefited from a cash transfer in Vietnam
In Vietnam, cash transfers have enabled families to rebuild their livelihoods after typhoons Wutip and Nari.

How does CVA work?

CVA enables families to identify and buy the items they need the most, whether that’s shelter, food, school fees or essential hygiene items.

As well as providing cash, we provide vouchers for people to spend on specific goods. We also provide cash and vouchers directly to young people for them to pay for vocational training and to set up businesses.

Before we provide CVA, we make sure that communities, especially women and marginalised groups, are consulted on the safest way for us to deliver cash to them.

We also review the markets and local financial environment, to ensure our response will effectively and efficiently meet families’ needs.

Mahmuda in Bangladesh
Mahmuda's daughter was pregnant when the tornado destroyed her home.

‘I was worried about my daughter’

In 2019, the Nor’wester tornado hit Bangladesh. It left 3,500 people with damaged homes and unsafe water to drink and put many – especially girls and young women – at risk of malnutrition and other related health issues.

With support from the Start Fund, Plan International Bangladesh was able to reach 700 households with CVA within 45 days of the storm, enabling families to meet their basic needs, including food and healthcare, while repairing their homes and water supply.

For Mahmuda, CVA provided a lifeline after her home was destroyed. “I repaired part of the house and bought nutritious food for the family. It protected my daughter, my little grandchildren and my family members," she says.

Tanzila in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, CVA has helped Tanzila to continue her education.

How does CVA help children?

With the financial support of CVA in place, it’s less likely children will have to find work to plug the gap in their family’s income, enabling them to go back to school. 

Greater financial stability for their family also helps to protect children from child, early and forced marriage, exploitation, food insecurity and malnutrition, while long term cash transfers can help make sure girls stay in school.

In Bangladesh, CVA helped Nilu support her daughter, Tanzila, to keep studying after their home was destroyed by the Nor’wester tornado. “My happiness is that my daughter has started going to school again,” she says.

A mobile bank in Indonesia
In Palu, Indonesia, we’re working with a local bank to open permanent bank accounts for people affected by the tsunami. The bank also provides mobile ATMs in rural areas, so people can withdraw their cash close to home.

How does Plan International deliver CVA?

We provide cash and vouchers to families in a number of different ways. Local banks, post offices and money transfer services, such as mobile money, can all be used to deliver cash directly to families when they need it most.

Local markets often get back up and running quickly after a sudden shock, and usually remain operational during a protracted crisis.

This means that as people continue to buy what they need most, they’re helping to rebuild the local economy, too.


Help us reach children and their families when they need us most