Ensuring basic needs to refugees and returnees.

Cash-based assistance allows people in crisis to purchase the local food, products and services they need like renting house/shelter and transportations.

Refugees and returnees supported by EOTC-DICAC/RRAD do have highly complex and dynamic contexts and needs. One of the most effective and efficient ways EOTC-DICAC/RRAD used to provide support is through the provision of cash to the most vulnerable refugee and returnees population groups.

Why we give cash

  • Cash-based interventions make the vulnerable people less likely to resort to harmful coping strategies, such as survival sex, child labour, family separation and forced marriage.
  • Cash-based assistance allows us to be faster, more efficient and more transparent. It gets more assistance directly to the vulnerable people we serve, who can spend it as they see fit.
  • Cash transfer programs have been shown to have many benefits, including reducing poverty, increasing school enrollment, and improving nutrition.
  • Cash transfers can be an efficient strategy for providing humanitarian assistance. Unconditional cash transfer programmes have a lower cost per beneficiary than vouchers which, in turn, have a lower cost per beneficiary than in-kind food distribution. Cash transfer programs can also benefit the local economy.
  • It also directly benefits the local economy and can contribute to peaceful coexistence with host communities.
  • Cash gives households a greater degree of choice and permits them to spend money according to their own priorities.

Is cash always best?

In short: no. Cash is not always the best solution.

  • High administration costs
  • May interfere with labour markets or other household priorities
  • May create a parallel economy
  • May need regular adjustment by agency to protect from inflation
  • Sometimes, local markets are too weak and not functioning adequately enough to handle the demand that cash could bring. In these cases, cash could lead to inflation.
  • Other times, there is no safe way to transfer the assistance – and making cash transfers could put staff or receivers at risk.

Three forms of cash transfer

1. Cash grants

The provision of money to targeted grants households, either as

  • Emergency relief to meet their basic needs for food and non-food items, or
  • Grants to buy assets essential for the recovery of their livelihoods.

Cash grants for livelihood recovery differ from micro-finance in that beneficiaries are not expected to repay the grants, and the financial services provided are not expected to continue in the long term. Both cash grants and micro-finance may be accompanied by training to upgrade the recipients’ skills.

2. Cash for work

Payment for work on public or community work works programmes. The cash wages help people to meet their basic needs, and the community project helps to improve or rehabilitate community services or infrastructure. Cash for work differs from casual labour in that it is targeted at the poorest or most food-insecure members of the community.

3. Vouchers

Vouchers provide access to pre-defined commodities. They can be exchanged in a special shop or in fairs and markets. The vouchers may have either a cash value or a commodity value. Vouchers have been most commonly used for the provision provide food and drinks.

Empowering through cash and vouchers


In Ethiopia for urban refugees;

  • One month cash assistance to new households up on arrival to meet their basic needs.
  • One time cash assistance to refugees on emergency basis up on partner request.
  • Helping refugees to open bank account