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Cash and voucher assistance ensuring safety in humanitarian settings

Cash and voucher assistance: ensuring safety in humanitarian settings

Our report shares key recommendations from our experience of delivering humanitarian CVA.

People living through humanitarian crises, especially girls and women, are dealing with personal risk on a daily basis

Gender-based violence is pervasive within many communities where we work and is further exacerbated when protective social networks are pulled apart by conflict, climatic or economic shocks, leaving the most vulnerable at risk of abuse and exploitation.

Plan International’s response to crisis includes diverse programmes to protect and educate children, while supporting their families with economic necessities (livelihoods, food security, water and shelter) to give their children the care they need. 

However response mechanisms, if not well planned, could increase risks of threats and negative behaviour if the underlying social and cultural norms and expectations are not well understood. 

A woman exchanges vouchers for food in the Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, vouchers can be exchanged at different shops and market stalls

Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) is a device in the humanitarian toolbox that, when provided to families, gives them flexibility to prioritise their own needs and manage their own recovery, rather than being dependant on in-kind hand-outs.

Financial management is often the domain of men in patriarchal societies and as a result, cash and voucher assistance can be perceived to carry more risks, especially relating to catalysing gender-based violence if the assistance is seen to contravene gender norms.

To ensure all of our beneficiaries, women and men, can make the most of the assistance provided, we must first understand the full implications of our project by consulting with them to understand the context within which they are living.

The stories documented in our report Safe Programming in the Design of Cash and Voucher Assistance – Lessons Learnt outline how using risk analysis tools can promote safe design and delivery of cash and voucher assistance, and the considerations practitioners needs to take into account when undertaking the assessment.

Safe programming in the design of cash and voucher assistance