As cash transfers gain favor, time for a rehaul of market assessments

Through electronic cards, ECHO’s partner, the World Food Programme, is providing both cash and voucher assistance to those most in need, allowing them to buy their own food from local shops.  Photo by: Peter Biro / EU / ECHO / CC BY-NC-ND

NAIROBI — In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, causing floods, landslides, and widespread destruction. Some 40 percent of the humanitarian response constituted cash transfers, totaling $845 million, and at least 45 agencies were involved in providing cash.

But the bulk of the responders were hesitant to inject cash, worried about whether the market could absorb it. The intuition was to respond with in-kind aid first and then later transition to cash.

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    Sara Jerving

    Sara Jerving is Devex's East Africa Correspondent based in Nairobi. She is a reporter and producer, whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Vice News, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Nation magazine, among others. Sara holds a master's degree in business and economic reporting from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was a Lorana Sullivan fellow.