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Guidelines for Cash Interventions in Somalia


About this resource

Resource type:Tools, guidelines and methodologies
Keywords:Cash, Disasters, Education, Food aid, Food and nutrition, Livelihoods, Non-food, Shelter and housing
Agency:European Commission, IASC - Inter Agency Standing Committee, USAID - United States Agency for International Development
Date published:September 2010


Cash interventions (also known as cash transfers) are a way of providing resources to a population and/or providing a source of income. Cash interventions are increasingly being used by the humanitarian and international development community as a means of providing items to populations in need, and to protect, establish or re-establish livelihoods.
Cash interventions are appropriate if essential goods or services are available but the targeted populations do not have the income to purchase them or to access services such as healthcare and education. In-kind support such as food aid and distribution of essential items are suitable when essential goods are not available in the market and need to be brought in from outside the project area.
The group of interventions classified as “cash-transfer interventions” are growing in popularity as they are found to be feasible and appropriate responses to many humanitarian crises, short term emergencies and longer term livelihood issues. Cash interventions can assist with population needs across sectors (food security, livelihoods, nutrition, water, shelter, education....) and can be used in different types of programs - to meet emergency needs, prevent the onset of crisis at critical times of the year; assist with early recovery and assist populations with development needs when the situation stabilises. Cash interventions can be run as stand-alone programs or they can complement other activities.
In response to the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the humanitarian community used cash interventions on a scale not seen before, with documented success. Today, many aid agencies routinely consider cash interventions as an option for meeting the needs of their beneficiaries. The increase in experience of cash programming has enabled some agencies to have documented guidelines on the use of cash programming. Guidelines from agencies such as Oxfam GB, ICRC, Horn Relief and ACF should be considered by agencies working in Somalia as further reading. Although they have not been written with specific contexts in mind, they provide a more detailed description of the many aspects of cash programming than is contained within these Guidelines for Somalia. Further, Horn Relief provides a training program complementing the implementation manual it has developed based on the Somali context.
In Somalia, non-governmental organisations have been implementing cash interventions since at least 2003 and there is now considerable documentation of learning from these projects. Evidence indicates that cash interventions can be implemented successfully in Somalia despite the complex nature of the situation including the security risks and the threat of corruption. As a result, many organisations working in Somalia have shown interested in learning and sharing information about cash interventions.
These new Guidelines for Cash Interventions in Somalia have therefore been designed as a way of harmonising existing guidelines (including those above) as well as the experiences of agencies working in Somalia. The guidelines take into account the elements of cash and voucher programming that are now included in international standards for humanitarian interventions such as the revised SPHERE Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (draft 2010) and the SEEP Economic Recovery Standards (2009).

These guidelines are intended to:

Provide a minimum standard for all cash interventions implemented in Somalia

Promote uniformity in implementing cash based responses in Somalia

Guide expectations of cash based responses in the Somali context

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