Save the Children in an Emergency
When disaster strikes, Save the Children is on the ground helping to protect children and their families. We are leaders in the humanitarian field, providing shelter, water, food, protection, and education services to help children and their families.
We have been responding to emergencies for over 100 years and we understand what people need in a time of crisis. But it is often families themselves who know exactly what is needed to get back on their feet.
Cash Transfers are one of the most effective ways Save the Children helps communities impacted by disasters. While we continue to provide assistance to children and their families through traditional humanitarian interventions, our cash transfer programs give families the flexibility they need to be able to help themselves in a dignified way.
Years of responding to emergencies have told us that cash is often the best way to ensure children and families are getting exactly what they need during times of crisis, while also keeping local markets and economies functioning.
For example, if a cyclone has devastated a village in Vita Levu, Fiji, one family might find that all their children’s clothes and school supplies have been washed away, while their neighbour might have had their crops completely destroyed. With Cash Transfers, both families will be able to go out to markets and buy items that will help alleviate the burden the cyclone has put on them. The first family can quickly buy the clothes and supplies their children need, while their neighbour can buy food that they would normally harvest, as well as seeds and farming materials so they can begin to rebuild their source of income. Both families will help keep shop owners in business, who can then use the income they are generating in other shops or buy the things they need in their own homes.
Who can get cash?
After Save the Children has decided that Cash Transfers are the best way to help children and families affected by a disaster or conflict, we conduct a vulnerability assessment to ensure the people who are in the greatest need are first in line.
Different sorts of emergencies will leave different families and groups in need. Save the Children will conduct surveys asking potential recipients of cash about their current situation following the emergency. Questions might include the size of the family, how many people are being supported in a family unit, the family’s access to income after the emergency, and their access to basic services.
After the vulnerability assessment is complete, Save the Children will usually alert families who are entitled to the support via phone or door to door home visits. The family will be given a time when a household representative can come to a centralised location to get their cash.
Save the Children has also been trialling new faster ways to get cash to communities. The video below shows an innovative new system which uses mobile phones to transfer funds, allowing families to access money even more quickly.
How do you know it works?
Save the Children is an implementing partner of Disaster READY, an Australian Government initiative designed to make sure our friends in the Pacific are safe and resilient against natural disasters, such as cyclones, tsunamis and floods.
In recent years, Save the Children has been using Cash Transfers across the globe as a part of our emergency response. We have seen time and time again that cash assistance can save lives.
We recently conducted a cash transfer simulation exercise in Fiji to ensure that it would work in a Pacific context: