Cash and vouchers in emergencies

Proponents of cash- and voucher-based approaches argue that they can be more cost-effective and timely, allow recipients greater choice and dignity, and have beneficial knock-on effects on local economic activity. Sceptics fear that they are often impractical because they incur additional risks of insecurity and corruption, and argue that cash may be more difficult to target than commodities. Even where these approaches are feasible, there are concerns that women may be excluded, that cash may be misused by recipients and that it may have negative effects on local economies and could fuel conflicts. Others feel that cash- or voucher-based responses sound interesting, but that in practice commodities are what is available, and what relief agencies have the skills and experience to deliver.