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A woman receives cash assistance

Cash and voucher assistance: the power of choice

The people ZOA serves live in highly complex and dynamic contexts. They have different needs in different places at different times. One of the most effective and efficient ways to provide support is through the provision of cash or vouchers.

A visual summary of key achievements in 2021 

cash assistance

Innovative and flexible

We strongly believe that people should be allowed to make their own choices, also in the aftermath of violent conflict or disasters. In many fragile contexts we operate in, cash is an effective tool to give people the opportunity to choose. Cash is a simple, but innovative solution that has the potential to simultaneously cover urgent food needs, water and sanitation needs, shelter needs and education needs through different cash modalities.

Cash and voucher assistance in relief

It is amazing to see that, even shortly after a conflict or natural disaster, the market is often still functional or recovers quickly. This enables ZOA to provide relief through the provision of cash or vouchers. Modality choice (cash, voucher or a mixture) is made depending on the context and the vulnerable groups ZOA serves. ZOA delivers cash in various ways, either restricted/unrestricted or conditional/unconditional. Cash assistance is an effective way to support people on household level. Both food and non-food items are covered at the same time, without having to set-up challenging logistical and administrative processes.

A woman receives cash assistance
Henry Bos

Henry Bos, Cash Assistance Specialist 

We believe in the strength and resilience of people we are serving. Cash and voucher assistance is an effective way to empower people to rebuild their lives again.

support of local markets 

Cash assistance contributes to recovery

Not only the most urgent needs of people can be covered with cash assistance. Cash is continuously being used by different people in the local economy. Therefore, cash and voucher assistance also contributes to the early recovery of local markets.

ZOA tailor-makes every cash project to the local context and the various needs people have. This means that cash is being delivered in either a restricted or unrestricted way, conditionally or unconditionally. If the market is not sufficiently functional any more, projects are restricted through the provision of vouchers. If the local community is able and willing to perform activities or work in exchange for a grant or voucher, people receive cash or vouchers based upon fulfilment of this condition. A mixture of modalities can also be used, depending on the thorough assessment of the local context.

People receiving cash and voucher assistance have the possibility to invest in their own recovery. They are able to buy assets that contribute to the recovery of their lives over a longer period of time. For example, seeds or productive assets can be bought with the grant or voucher. Or people can invest in the education of their children.

Working together

Partners and networks

ZOA’s cash and voucher assistance related projects are funded by a variety of donors, institutional as well as private. To ensure ZOA delivers effectively in the field, we always coordinate any cash project with other humanitarian actors (including UN agencies), local government and/or private sector partners. In this way, ZOA actively contributes to the Grand Bargain commitments, of which the gearing up of cash programming is an important commitment. Cash or vouchers are often delivered through local private sector players. ZOA is an active member of the Cash & Learning Platform (CaLP).

Publications about ZOA's Cash work