Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) is a transfer of assistance provided by either government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the form of cash or voucher, often targeted at the most deprived and vulnerable members of society. Money can be transferred electronically, via a mobile network, indirect cash or through vouchers and can be conditional or unconditional in nature. In recent years, the use of CVA has grown significantly with multisectoral benefits becoming increasingly evident.
Pacific Cash Preparedness Project
The Pacific Cash Preparedness Partnership (PCPP) is a regional collaboration between Save the Children and Oxfam, formed with the overall objective of enabling faster, more efficient and effective emergency cash transfer programming at scale in Pacific Island Countries (PIC’s).
As an investment in the emergency preparedness of the Pacific, the Disaster READY program is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP).
The PCPP aims to establish and strengthen cash actors readiness to implement CVA programs in Fiji and the Pacific through;
(1) Partnerships and engagement: partnering and coordinating with government departments, UN agencies, INGOs, Civil Society Organisations, Private Sector Companies and community leaders to develop localised CVA mechanisms and approaches;
(2) Capacity building: providing CVA training and coaching for cash actors using best practise tools from the Cash and Learning Partnership;
(3) CVA advocacy and awareness-raising: promoting key CVA advocacy messages and communication materials to socialise CVA in the region;
(4) Inclusive needs assessments: conducting assessments, including Cash Feasibility Studies, as well as gender and disability inclusion assessments in the region; and
(5) CVA drills: undertaking CVA evacuation drills in rural and remote locations in Fiji to test and measure the effectiveness of CVA during National Disaster Awareness Week
Benefits to Cash and Voucher Assistance
- Cost-efficient: distributing cash and vouchers has been identified as being more cost-effective than commodity-based alternatives. One of the reasons for this is because, in many circumstances, transport and logistics costs are lower for CVA than the transport and provision of physical goods.
- Choice: provision of unconditional cash empowers recipients to decide what they spend the money on. This recognises that not all beneficiaries perceive their basic needs as the same and that recovery of their livelihoods may vary by context, population group and geography.
- Stimulates local economies: distributing cash can have knock-on economic benefits as a multiplier effect, for local markets and trade if the money is spent locally. This, in turn, facilitates the expansion of local markets and increased demand for services that can indirectly stimulate agricultural production and other areas of livelihood.
- Avoids disincentive effects: unlike commodities such as food and shelter, cash is more likely to encourage local trade and production by accelerating diversity in the circulation of cash.
- Fewer costs for recipients: food often costs recipients a significant amount to transport from the distribution site to their home. CVA avoids this.
- Dignity: giving people greater choice through the use of cash and voucher can significantly enhance the dignity of recipients, enabling a greater sense of agency and decision-making over their lives.
- Potential to advance Sustainable Development Goals: the multisectoral opportunities afforded by CVA for growth and development can align with the longer-term strategic plan of achieving the SDG’s, in particular through the National Development Plan.