Team Members: Dr. Abid Qaiyum suleri
Cash transfers are increasingly being seen as a part of the toolbox for emergency response and early recovery and can be complementary as well as an alternative to in-kind assistance. Cash based responses are a mechanism or tool for providing people with resources in emergencies that can be considered across all sectors. Cash can be particularly appropriate to help support, protect and rebuild livelihoods.
In the wake of recent disasters in Pakistan and considering the importance of cash transfers in rebuilding of livelihoods in disaster-hit areas, SDPI furthered its policy research and undertook the review of the GoP’s draft disaster response action plan in collaboration with the Humanitarian Outcomes and DFID. Following activities were undertaken as part of the project.
- Desk review of international best practice in cash-transfer systems for disaster response
- Consultations and interviews, with the wider GoP disaster response
- Workshops with both provincial and federal stakeholders engaged in disaster response
- Review of the GoP’s draft disaster response action plan
- Re-drafted revised action plan together with GoP and World Bank
Lessons for Pakistan that emerge from international best practice and that were incorporated in this review suggest that providing people with money can be an effective and appropriate response in a wide variety of contexts. The basic criteria for cash transfers to be appropriate are that markets are functioning so that people can buy what they need locally and that cash can be delivered safely. Evaluations have found that it is possible to target and distribute cash safely and people spend money sensibly on basic essentials and rebuilding livelihoods. Cash transfers can provide a stimulus to local economies and have in some contexts been more cost-effective than commodity-based alternatives. Cash transfer also need to be coordinated with long-term GoP social protection and social assistance schemes. Poorer households that qualify and need long-term support may be linked to such programmes.