Is Cash Transfer Programming "Fit for the Future"?
This summary presents the results of a 2013 research study entitled, Is Emergency Cash Transfer Programming ‘Fit for the Future’? The research was commissioned by the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), and undertaken by the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP), King’s College London. The project intends to understand how changes in the broader global and humanitarian landscape may evolve in the future (up to 2025), and how these changes might shape cash transfer programming (CTP). The analysis examines these issues in the context of ongoing global dialogue on the future of humanitarianism, including the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) processes, the deliberations for the next iteration of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA 2), and the World Humanitarian Summit 2016. The research affirms a growing conceptual acceptance of the use of cash, both on the part of international humanitarian actors (IHAs) and crisis-affected governments. Even so, the research also finds that cash has rarely been considered a major tool in and of itself, and more often than not has been regarded as an adjunct mechanism that has ‘piggy-backed’ on more standard, in-kind mechanisms such as ‘food-for-cash’ programmes. Viewing cash merely as a supplementary ‘tool’ for in-kind assistance and other financing modalities in times of emergencies is, however, to overlook the potentially transformative value that cash represents in a futures context. If CTP is to fulfil its potential, it will require a new business model. Not only will that model have to meet the changing nature of humanitarian threats and needs, but it will also have to take into account the interrelated and evolving technological, socio-economic, demographic and governance realities in which cash will be deployed in future. This report presents a set of recommendations, both to the sector in general and to specific stakeholder groups that, if pursued, might reasonably serve as the basis for the creation of that new business model. It is hoped that this report and the other project products will be widely disseminated and their conclusions and recommendations debated at all levels within the sector. This process should result in a set of priorities that can serve as the basis for a forward-looking action agenda. Ideally, this agenda should be conceived by the full network of actors identified in this analysis who have an interest and role in the evolution of CTP. This summary has been developed as a stand-alone document. It is complemented by a Final Report and an Annex Package that contains the full set of products developed in the course of this research project.