Humanitarian cash vouchers encourage spending on essentials, as well, distributing money to beneficiaries equally in the household leads to effective mechanism processes
1 How are aid agencies distributing cash vouchers?
- Humanitarian aid agencies have relied on cash vouchers instead of ‘real cash’ for a long time, which allows beneficiaries to spend on food, products and services.
- The problem is that not many places accept aid vouchers given by humanitarian agencies such as the UNHCR, NRC, Oxfam, etc.
- In other cases, god forbid, technology fails in the middle east, especially with the ongoing war and lack of electricity.
- The problem is that aid agencies only distributes the vouchers to the head of the family, either mom or dad, who buy the essential needs for the family.
- Aid agencies have pre-connection with suppliers already in the local market which discourages beneficiaries from going elsewhere to buy.
2 To address lack of cash vouchers success in humanitarian perspective for the poor, the following are some solutions:
- Humanitarian aid agencies should continue to play a proactive role in the ongoing humanitarian crisis where there is a need i.e. Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon, etc.
- A basic study on the main problems with cash vouchers needs to be picked up directly by surveying the beneficiaries which includes both parents and children in some cases.
- The negative things about using mobile technology and voucher cards in the program need to be highlighted.
- The level of communication between the beneficiary and the aid agency providing the cash voucher need to be strengthened.
- If recipients are living in a refugee camp e.g. Lebanon or Turkey, how likely are they able to get to a bank to get cash? And do they even have the proper identification in the said country?
- Education on what works and what doesn’t should be shared with the household regarding cash voucher program.
- Could the humanitarian community address weak points as to why they should not distribute ‘real cash’ while also keeping in mind partnerships and risks at the market level?