5. Programme Implementation

Once the details of program design are set, program implementation includes:

  1. Contracting payment agent;
  2. Targeting beneficiaries;
  3. Setting up beneficiary registration and identification systems;
  4. Distributing cash and vouchers;
  5. Coordinating with others.

The contract template and content depend on situational context and is developed by the procurement team. The template can either rely on the framework agreement developed at preparedness stage, or it can be a contract specific to a particular project. Minimum requirements for this contract include:

  • Duration of the agreement;
  • Cost and type or quality of financial services;
  • Clear division of roles and responsibilities between CARE/implementing partner and the provider;
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and reporting system;
  • Reconciliation process;
  • Provisional calendar for critical dates (distribution, reconciliation, etc.);
  • Data protection;
  • Payment terms.

CARE favors payment agents pre­-financing, where both service charges and money transferred to beneficiaries are reimbursed by CARE once beneficiaries receive payment. Depending on project size and the payment agent’s capacity, pre-financing may not be feasible and the contract should plan for performance bond payment of service charges. In all cases, the loss of funds due to fraud or diversion should be covered by the payment agent.

Targeting is a major step of every emergency response – who are targeted depends on the program objective, not whether CVA is used. Targeting methods and protocols are also independent of the delivery modality.

CARE often relies on community-based targeting, using local criteria and village committees to select the most vulnerable households within a community. The main benefits of these methodologies are buy-in and outcome acceptance from beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries.

No targeting method is perfect, and none will result in targeting without errors. To mitigate inclusion and exclusion errors, setting up the accessible and reliable complaint and feedback mechanism is key and allows beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries to report problematic exclusion and inclusion.

Cash for Work targeting:

When CfW is used, in addition to beneficiary selection, the work to be undertaken must be identified and should aim to improve community resources and infrastructures. Work selection should involve the community, with an equal number of female and male representatives. The following criteria can guide the selection:

  • Relevance to addressing community needs;
  • The long-term benefit for the community;
  • Non-duplication with other initiatives;
  • Labor intensiveness and number of participants that can be enrolled;
  • Technical viability and capacity of the community and executing agency;
  • Safety and security;
  • Landownership and permit considerations;
  • Do-no-harm considerations, especially in relation to social cohesion/tension, gender, and child labor.

Inclusive targeting:

When identifying target beneficiaries, steps should be taken to ensure that assistance benefits both men and women affected by the emergency equally. The risks of doing harm should be assessed to prevent or find mitigating measures for those risks. This includes:

  • Ensure CfW is inclusive: When CfW is selected, the type of work offered to beneficiaries should allow all groups to partake in the scheme (including elderly or those living with disability), or provisions should be made for a percentage of unconditional grants for households unable to work.
  • Minimum/Maximum age limits for CfW: The minimum age requirement for partaking in CfW schemes is 18 years old, as otherwise, we are supporting child labor. If upper age limits are set, they should be agreed upon by the community, otherwise, participation in work should be skills/vulnerability/capacity-based.
  • Ensure child-headed households have access to the scheme: Especially important when considering the use of banking instruments, as ATM cards or bank accounts are often only accessible persons over 18 years of age. Alternatives should be included to allow assistance to child-headed households.
  • Risk and opportunities of technology and e-transfer: Considering mobile transfers can lead to increased beneficiary accountability, due to increased access to CARE team members. However, access to technology can also represent a barrier for beneficiaries with low technical literacy. When technology is being considered for payment delivery, ensure that beneficiaries can access the transfer or get support to do so.
  • Engage both men and women in CVA and use your gender analysis to identify primary household recipients to target: This can be done through information campaigns, raising awareness, and encouraging women’s and men’s participation in design and implementation. CVA could increase intra-household violence and add an additional burden on women in terms of workload and/or social pressure, but it can also provide an opportunity to support women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion.
  •  Communicate clearly with communities: Be sure to outline targeting criteria, and set the expectations associated with this targeting. CVA is unlikely to be successful when the community does not agree with criteria or processes for beneficiary selection.
  • Monitor the wellbeing of women, children, elderly, and people living with disabilities: Ensure the CVA does no harm to any beneficiaries, particularly those from vulnerable groups.

Considerations for gender equity in the use of cash for work for Shelter outcomes

After targeting, beneficiaries are registered and given identification documents to ensure CVA distribution can go ahead. The process is no different than for in-kind distribution and key steps include:

  • Creating a database: Consider what information is needed to implement distribution, reconcile information, and identify targeted beneficiaries. This will vary based on modality and payment mechanism chosen. The team in charge of targeting should know why the information is needed so they can explain it properly to target communities.
  • Agree on identification documents: Identification methods can include: national ID card, biometrics, identity confirmation by a community leader, or a combination of different methods. If women or marginalized groups do not have formal identification, or if IDs were lost in the crisis, the project manager is responsible for developing identification mechanisms, so that all targeted groups can access programming. IDs for eligibility must be available, verifiable information that can be provided by applicants without incurring undo costs. It is also important to ensure that payment agents are familiar with the identification documents used and can identify fraudulent ones.
  • Select the method of authentication: The same authentication methods should be used by CARE/partner and FSP. These can include visual verification of identification documents, signatures, biometrics, PIN numbers and/or passwords.

General distribution principles (reference/link to place in Emergency Toolkit)should be applied to cash and voucher distribution. A key part of distribution success is outlining roles and responsibilities and ensuring that all parties involved understand their duties, which will vary depending on the payment agent chosen.

  • Ensure that all parties (CARE staff, partners, payment agents) know their roles and responsibilities;
  • Role-playing can help all teams understand what is expected from them;
  • Training is a good opportunity to introduce humanitarian principles and CARE code of conduct to non-CARE staff.

Distributions where CARE gives cash directly to beneficiaries usually require many team members, including daily workers. Technical skills for those daily workers may be reasonably low: knowledge of local authorities and communities, the ability to manage a crowd, common sense, patience, and ability to read and write.

Designate a distribution team leader to oversee each distribution and ensure you have a security focal point. This team leader will be the only one moving among the different desks during distribution, while other team members will remain static. Ensure that a complaint desk is set near (but not in) the distribution site. Key principles of voucher distribution include:

Cash coordination includes both operational functions, focused on process, and strategic functions focused on results and impact. While some functions may have both operational and strategic values, strategic coordination usually covers:

  • Influencing standards and cash transfer values;
  • Joint analysis and decision-making on the appropriate type of response, to ensure that CVA and other modalities are complementary;
  • Coordination of the humanitarian response;
  • Advocacy with host governments, Humanitarian Coordination Team, donors, etc.

Operational coordination covers:

  • Sharing of good practices and lessons learned;
  • Joint assessment and Cash Feasibility Study;
  • Using CVA to address multiple objectives;
  • Streamlining cash delivery instruments and negotiating service fees with payment agents;
  • Joint monitoring;
  • Development and use of common guidelines and tools.


Additionally, the CaLP Coordination toolkit can be used as a reference when considering taking an active role in cash coordination and includes practical tools, guidance documents, and templates covering:

  • Advocacy for cash coordination and guidance on the role of the coordinator;
  • Advice for cash coordination group facilitation;
  • Successful ways to communicate within the coordination group and with external groups;
  • Tools and basic training for improving CVA capacity;
  • Tools used by coordination groups to facilitate better coordination and promote good practices (3W matrices – who is doing what, where, and when; joint M&E systems);
  • Core CVA documents.

Possible reference links: