March 1, 2023

CPDP Blog Post: Hortense Sombie’s story

This blog series will focus on the highlights from different Cash Practitioner Development Programme graduates, allowing practitioners to share what they have learnt and experienced during their Cash School learning deployments.

The Cash Practitioner Development Programme aims to expand the ready pool of cash experts available to deliver humanitarian cash assistance, and to strengthen the community of qualified practitioners with up-to-date skills in all areas of cash assistance. Cash deployments are a key element of participants learning schedules, these deployments aim to enhance skills and confidence in implementing cash based assistance. Some deployments are run in partnership with NORCAP, with practitioners accessing deployment opportunities from a range of humanitarian agencies.

Meet Hortense Sombie from Our 2022 Cash Practitioner Development Programme!

Hortense Sombie, from our Cash Practitioner Development Programme (CPDP) in 2022, reflects on her journey with cash, the highs and lows of the programme and offers advice to others considering applying to be a CPDP alumni.

When did you first hear about the use of cash and voucher assistance (CVA)?

In 2005, I heard about a cash programme in Niger. I found the concept of giving people money quite strange. However, after giving the idea some thought, I put myself in their shoes and thought: “would I prefer to get cash and buy what I need or for people to give me things they think I need? I decided it makes more sense to get money for what I need and when I need it”.

What are some of the main highlights from your time on the CPDP programme?

  • Going on deployment to Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde.
  • Learning lots of new skills from my mentor!

Have you noticed any changes since leaving the programme?

My perspective used to be narrow but with the Cash School it opened my mind to a different way of seeing how we can use cash. The people I worked with made it clear that you need to understand cash before using it.

What difference has your time at the CPDP made to your organisation (Burkinabé Red Cross)?

The work in the cash school has helped my National Society (NS) a lot. Before we would address cash without knowing where to get the appropriate tools from. However, when I returned home, I was happy to be able to provide support and advice to people on where to find solutions or help with solving a cash problem. I realised that: “This is the purpose of the cash school: to make us confident in supporting our region and NS!”.

What was the hardest part of taking part in the CPDP programme?

I took part in the programme during Covid-19 and because of this my group did not bond as easily as normal. Whilst this made me sometimes feel lonely, I felt I could always rely on my mentor.

What advice do you have for someone new to the programme?

  • Do the learning activities right at the beginning as this will benefit you in the long-run – don’t leave it until later!
  • Try to link up with other students from the start.

Would you recommend the programme to other people?

Yes, definitely. It is a very good programme and I have been impressed by the quality of the programme and the subjects involved. I don’t think there are any other programmes like it in the Movement!

For any other questions regarding our next Cash Practitioner Development Programme please contact the Cash School on