Cash transfers in fragile/conflict-affected environments


What has been the experience of social cash transfers - conditional or unconditional - in fragile and/or post-conflict states? Are there examples of this kind of scheme, or do they only operate in relatively stable countries? What are the conditions that generate success? What are the lessons learned?


There has been a rise in the implementation of cash transfer schemes in fragile and/or post-conflict environments. However, these programmes have often been small in scale compared with commodity distributions.

Concerns about implementation in such contexts include insecure delivery and corruption. However, many methods have been used in unstable contexts to safely transfer money to people. Further, while anti-corruption checkpoints are needed, cash is not necessarily more prone to corruption than food aid and can be (usefully) less visible. Other lessons include the importance of:

  • Conducting analysis, including market analysis to determine whether markets are strong enough to respond to increased demand
  • Balancing demand-side interventions with an increased supply of infrastructure, goods and services, including legal support and civil documentation
  • Addressing institutional and staff capacity constraints
  • Tackling targeting issues while balancing the goals of poverty reduction and social cohesion
  • Monitoring and evaluation.