​Operational Cash Concept: 

SDC Operational Concept Note Cash and Voucher Assistance 2021 - 2024​​


Previous Concepts


SDC's strategic direction on cash transfer programming is defined in the Operational Cash Concept for 2017-2020.

Despite notable improvements cash and vouchers still accounting for only 7% of assistance delivered globally by all humanitarian actors (data of end of 2016, increase of 1% only since 2015). Large bottlenecks remain (mentality, preparedness, coordination) and need to be addressed in the coming years. Hence SDC/HA keeps an important added-value, especially with its close to 20 years of experience as operational actor & donor.

The concept period is in line with the HA priority themes, the CaLP Board seat, and the targets set by the major humanitarian partners in making sure cash is fully automated in their responses (many have made commitments by 2020 or so, thereby it will be a key period to re-assess engagement). The concept focuses on what is missing for cash to reach proper scale (shift from the "why not cash?" as everyone now knows its benefits, to the "how to do it"):

  • Outcome 1: CTP is systematically included as an option. SDC/HA will focus on gaps, supporting actors that are still having difficulties to scale up and can most benefit from SDC/HA comparative advantage, such as the RC/RC Movement (ICRC, IFRC and their support to the readiness of national societies to use cash, including for us the Swiss RC for instance), UNHCR, UNRWA, CaLP and others. For partners like WFP the will is to rather focus strategic secondments linked to innovations, and decrease the technical secondments.
  • Outcome 2: Cash assistance is coordinated. Joint initiatives for reduced duplications at global level are supported and a predictable solution for cash coordination within the existing humanitarian architecture has been established.  
  • Outcome 3: Preparedness to use cash has been mainstreamed. Internally, there is a strong will to reinforce readiness to use cash within the SET/rapid responses, and for partners it is mportant to take into account existing national and local capacities, and linking with existing systems (social protection, private sector, etc). This link to localization calls for strengthened partnerships with actors that invest in local capacities.


The previous Concept is still available here: Operational Concept on CTP 2015-2016.

Position Paper: The main purpose of the position paper is to define the position of Switzerland/SDC/HA vis-a-vis CTP in general, new developments, and to define SDC's expectations towards its main partners when it comes to using cash transfer modalities in humanitarian response. The target audience of this paper are all SDC staff members (including SHA members deployed in cash transfer programmes) that interact with operational partners and donors in the implementation of humanitarian response.

Position Paper


Complementary information on the link with Social Protection:

SDC Issue paper on Social Protection, produced by HA in collaboration with the South Cooperation, and approved by the SDC Dirko in March 2017.

Summary of a workshop on humanitarian cash and shock-responsive social protection, March 2017.