Rethinking Cash Assistance within Humanitarian Response

Panel details

Panel organiser(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online
Number of paper presentations 5


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The last decade witnessed growing emphasis put on cash-based programming within the humanitarian sector promising to solve some of the quintessential dilemmas of humanitarianism as the ‘best way to deliver aid’. Notably during the World Humanitarian Summit cash assistance was promoted as an innovative, effective and dignified way of delivering aid. Likewise over the course of the seven years of the Syrian conflict, cash-based programming emerged as a central feature of the regional humanitarian response framework, and it was also implemented inside Syria.

This panel invites scholars to investigate the implications of the central role of cash-based programming in humanitarian sector for the affected populations’ welfare, as well as for humanitarian and policy responses to crises. The panel welcomes researcher and practitioner contributions on cash-based programming in general and in Syria response in particular. The panel invites contributions that:
• Critically examine the promises of cash-based programming and how cash-based programming construes needs and rights and the agency of the recipients;
• Investigate the interaction between cash assistance for refugees and host countries’ domestic policies on health, social protection, education, housing and labour, alongside the role of various actors in delivering services;
• Examine the interplay of cash assistance schemes and humanitarian protection concerns of refugee and civilian populations and services provided to this effect, notably exploring the nexus of cash assistance and specialised protection programming, such as child protection and gender-based violence programming and mental health psychosocial support;
• And, papers that bring a historical perspective to the conception and practice of cash assistance in humanitarian settings.

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