FAO emergencies and resilience

Cash and voucher assistance


FAO’s cash and voucher programmes provide people with life-saving means to immediately cope with crises, while protecting their livelihoods and strengthening their resilience to future shocks. In humanitarian contexts, cash and vouchers provide dignity, choice and flexibility – recipients decide for themselves how, when and where to spend the cash to access the goods and services they most need in local markets.  

Cash transfers have the potential to bridge humanitarian and development assistance. Predictable, multi-year, monthly humanitarian cash assistance can be used to strengthen or complement nascent or existing social assistance programmes and systems. Supporting people beyond seasonal needs by addressing vulnerabilities provides a sustainable long-term approach that breaks the circle of dependency.

Vouchers allow FAO to provide farmers and pastoralists with access to the locally available essential inputs, equipment and services they need to maintain and improve their livelihoods. 

FAO’s cash and voucher assistance includes  

  • cash+ 
  • unconditional cash transfers   
  • conditional cash transfers  
  • cash for work  
  • agricultural input vouchers   
  • nutrition vouchers    
  • seed and input trade fairs  

Cash+ is widely used as it allows beneficiaries to address immediate basic needs while additional livelihoods assistance helps bolster livelihoods and resilience.  Cash for work also provides opportunities for communities to rehabilitate and/or build essential infrastructure (water management, soil conservation, market access, etc.) to improve the sustainability of their livelihoods when threatened by climate change and/or conflict.  

A growing number of cash and voucher programmes are delivered using electronic means, such as electronic vouchers and mobile money, including through IDEA (Identification, Delivery, Empowerment Applications), a system developed by FAO for the management of beneficiary data and the delivery and tracking of assistance.

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