The politics of cash: a case study on humanitarian cash transfers in Ukraine

Working and discussion papers
December 2016
Sarah Bailey and Ruth Aggiss

This case study examines the evolution of cash transfers in the humanitarian response in Ukraine. 

The use of cash transfers in Ukraine brought out the best and worst aspects of the international humanitarian system. Uncertainty over where cash fits into the humanitarian architecture – and whether multipurpose cash transfers even have a place – was a significant hindrance to the strategic use of cash transfers in Ukraine. Embedding cash transfers as a more strategic and effective tool in humanitarian assistance will require cooperation and coordination from the beginning. Donors should encourage aid agencies to compete for resources based on their ability to form effective partnerships, their analysis of how best to engage with the government and their capacity to deliver appropriate and efficient programming.

This working paper is one of a series of case studies building on the work of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers. The Panel concluded that cash transfers are not used enough in humanitarian responses and not used in ways that take advantage of their transformative potential.