Approaches to Providing Cash Based Assistance in Protracted Crises

Lessons from Turkey

Boy at writing at a UNICEF-supported learning center in Turkey.


Social protection systems are increasingly being used to provide emergency assistance during times of crisis. These systems allow for more effective, efficient and  sustainable solutions in delivering aid than creating parallel responses. This report documents UNICEF’s experience supporting cash-based assistance to refugees in Turkey since 2015, when it monetized its seasonal assistance package that had previously provided in-kind winter clothing kits to families. Since then, UNICEF’s cash based assistance has evolved considerably, including from restricted to unrestricted modalities, from more sector-specific to multi-purpose assistance. Use of cash transfers to support education and protection outcomes has been piloted, and UNICEF has moved from a ‘project’ approach to more predictable and harmonized ways of linking with national systems. This case study explores UNICEF’s involvement in designing and implementing three separate initiatives and the main lessons learned including enabling factors and challenges.

Approaches to providing cash assistance in crises Turkey case study cover.
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