September 10, 2018
#RedCrossCash Conference – Towards Transformation
Ahmad buys groceries with money he received from the Red Cross cash assistance programme in Amman, Jordan.
© Andrew McConnell / the British Red Cross
This week, on Thursday 13 September, the British Red Cross is convening a Cash Conference on behalf of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (RCRCM). This is an exciting time for the humanitarian sector and its partners as we consider the future role of cash in humanitarian aid.
Cash assistance is a well utilised tool in the humanitarian world already, but is it going far enough? What more can we be doing to ensure that cash assistance is truly localised and improving the outcomes for people in crisis? Is our own global aid system preventing us from responding to crises in a more timely, efficient and effective way with more choice and dignity for affected populations? How does responding with cash in conflict differ to a natural disaster response?
These are all questions we’ll be discussing at the conference. The day will bring together senior representatives from across different sectors, including the humanitarian community, academia, the private sector and government, to engage in a conversation about the potential role of cash in transforming humanitarian aid.
I am delighted to count among the speakers and panel discussants representatives from the RCRCM, WFP, DFID, CaLP, IRC, Oxfam, ODI, Mastercard, GiveDirectly, InterNews, GSMA and others.
An estimated $2.8billion of international humanitarian assistance was allocated to cash transfer programmes in 2016; while this is a positive increase from 2015, this is still less than 10 per cent of total humanitarian aid. If we are serious about transforming aid, this must change.
The RCRCM has a long history of delivering cash-based interventions, and now runs some of the most ambitious cash programmes in the world, including in Kenya, Pakistan, Turkey, the Philippines and the United States. We want to harness this knowledge and experience and join efforts with our global partners to improve the impact of humanitarian assistance. The British Red Cross’ first ever impact report, The Difference We Made in 2017, to be published this week, highlights numerous examples where cash has been used to support crisis-affected communities across the globe.
One step we’ve taken towards strengthening the use of cash is through creating an online Cash Hub, in partnership with IFRC and ICRC, which we will be officially launching at the Cash Conference on Thursday. This global resource will be available to help strengthen the global work in humanitarian cash assistance. The Cash Hub offers quick and easy access to key resources, programme guidance and tools for cash practitioners. It also hosts the ‘Cash School’ to train practitioners, a Helpdesk as well as a Forum to assist operations with technical advice, relevant information and signposting to online resources.
Director, Humanitarian Cash Assistance at British Red Cross