Cash Transfer Programming

Cash Transfer Programming (CTP) is a form of humanitarian assistance used to address basic needs in populations affected by shocks and disasters.The general objective of CTP is to support an immediate increase in purchasing and/or investment power in a household unlike purely in-kind distributions. Cash transfers can help communities re-establish assets and livelihoods when they have been destroyed and can further be used to build resilience before a disaster strikes or to mitigate against chronic and seasonal crises.

Research on these types of transfer modalities (especially cash grants) demonstrated a number of key benefits over in-kind distribution - primarily: empowerment of local communities to make their own choices and supporting or strengthening of local market systems. Transfer of cash grants changes the balance of power such that humanitarian agencies cannot default to providing support that simply fits their organisational mandate or past practice, but instead supports people to prioritise and meet their own needs, as any person not impacted by disaster would want to do.

CTP is in-line with Tearfund’s vision of transformation built on relationships which are inclusive and sustainable. It empowers those we work with and serve in a compassionate and dignified way. Tearfund already has experience of cash programming in its operational teams and with partners in Haiti, Syria, DRC, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Nigeria, Nicaragua, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Iraq, Pakistan, CAR, Ethiopia and Mali, with new projects starting all the time. 


CaLP (The Cash Learning Partnership) has produced an excellent e-learning module which you can get to through the interactive module button on the right (You will need to register to do this course online.)  It should take about 2 hours to complete but is broken down into shorter chunks which do not all need to be completed in one go. It covers the following areas:

  • Different types of cash programming

  • Risks and benefits

  • How to assess the situation and design a programme effectively

  • Case studies

  • A quiz to test your knowledge

There is an introductory guide to cash transfer programming and a collection of case studies: cash and voucher programmes in emergency contexts which give a good background to the subject.  Read these and then complete the quiz to test your knowledge.

Key to CTP is understanding the different roles and management structure required in a CTP programme. This Oxfam poster forms a useful starting point.

Market assessments are often the first step to CTP. These will be covered in the Needs Assessment module.