A New Model for Delivering Cash Relief–Findings from the IRC’s Cash Research & Development Program

Cash relief is gaining increasing attention in the humanitarian sector as an effective evidence-based intervention to enable populations affected by a crisis to meet a wide range of outcomes. However, cash assistance as currently implemented can take a long time to reach the people in need in an emergency, and is characterized by manual inefficient practices which limit the scale of interventions. These challenges result in high operating costs to deliver cash assistance, and significant gaps between when aid is needed and when it is delivered. To address these challenges, the IRC initiated a research and development (R&D) effort to test and iterate innovative solutions to reducing the time to delivery and improving the cost efficiency of emergency cash transfer programs in Pakistan. We evaluated all innovations in the programming approach against several key metrics, including time to delivery, cost efficiency, user satisfaction and targeting accuracy. The result of these efforts is a new operating model for delivering cash assistance for emergency-affected households in Pakistan that significantly reduces the time to delivery and improves the cost-efficiency of cash programs at scale. 

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.