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10 common principles for multi-purpose cash based assistance to respond to humanitarian needs

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Responses to a humanitarian crisis should be effective and efficient, responding to the most pressing needs of affected people and representing the best value for money.

Humanitarian responses require needs to be met across multiple sectors, assessed on a multi-sector basis and provided to meet basic needs.

Humanitarian assistance must be provided in a way that enhances protection and upholds the safety, dignity and preferences of beneficiaries.

Innovative approaches to meeting needs should be fostered.

A combination of transfer modalities and delivery mechanisms may be required depending on the nature and context of the crisis and used at various stages of the crisis – an optimum response may require them to be used in combination.

Multi-purpose assistance should be considered alongside other delivery modalities from the outset – we need to always ask the question "Why not cash?".

Accountability considerations require the use of robust impact and outcome indicators, which should be limited in number and which will be a combination of agency specific and broader indicators.

An appropriately detailed assessment of the capacity of markets and services to meet humanitarian needs must be carried out at the outset of a crisis, integrated within the overall assessment and regularly monitored and reviewed.

Linkages with national social protection systems need to be exploited whenever possible.

Agencies involved in responding to a crisis should establish, from the outset, a clear coordination and governance structure and streamline assessment, beneficiary registration, targeting and monitoring.