Digital Cash-based Assistance

Wednesday 24.11. at 16:45-18:00
Hossein Baharmand, School of Business and Law, University of Agder, Norway

Technology in Cash-based Assistance in Refugee Crises

Hossein Baharmand, School of Business and Law, University of Agder, Norway
Wojciech Piotrowicz, Hanken School of Economics, HUMLOG Institute, Finland
Fabio Sbargossa, NTNU, Norway
Joseph Ntayi, Makerere University Business School, Uganda
Adam Widera, WWU Munster, Germany

Cash-based assistance
Humanitarian operations
Digital technologies
Refugee crises
Decision support system

Digital technology is transforming cash-based assistance (CBA) with the potential to increase access to financial resources and
services during times of crisis while increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of assistance. Innovations based on digital
technology range from how main CBA actors (i.e., humanitarian organizations (HOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
donors, technology providers and business partners) identify and verify people eligible for assistance, collect data for assessments and monitoring, in addition to communicate with disaster-affected populations. Digital payment systems, including mobile money, electronic vouchers, electronic cash, and recently blockchain-based transfers – when used appropriately – can deliver timelier, more secure, cost effective, and more inclusive assistance. Our research seeks to answer how to support policy makers at HOs, NGOs, and donors to make informed decisions about the use of digital technologies in CBA.

Digital technologies for transparent cash-based programs in humanitarian supply chains

Mohammad Hossein Zarei, Coventry University, UK
Sudipa Sarker, Aarhus University, Denmark

Humanitarian Supply Chain
Cash-based interventions
Cash for work
Disaster Management
Disaster Preparedness

Cash-based programs are becoming a widespread practice followed by humanitarian organizations (HOs). While cash is often costeffective
and a more reliable means of support to the beneficiaries, cash-based programs are often criticized due to a lack of control
over what is being purchased. In this regard, digital technologies (e.g., blockchain and mobile payments) can provide the required visibility and track purchasing practices of beneficiaries. The aim of this paper is to identify different innovative and digital technologies that can be used by HOs to gain control and create a governance mechanism over the donated cash. To achieve the stated aim, an extensive literature review is performed to identify available digital technologies and explain how these technologies can be used in humanitarian supply chains to implement cash-based programs. The review is followed by semi-structured interviews in HOs in order to find out the applicability of the identified solutions. The contribution of this paper can be drawn on theoretical, practical, and policy accounts. On theoretical grounds, this paper adds to the knowledge base of the humanitarian supply chain by recognizing novel solutions for implementing cash-based programs. The practice of the humanitarian supply chain will be improved by identified technologies that can impart greater transparency and compliance to donor regulations. Policymakers will benefit from the recognized digital technologies to design, create, and implement the required governance mechanism to avoid potential malpractices.

Supply chain digitalization in the shadow of economic social and political challenges: the humanitarian response

Elvira Ruiz Kaneberg, Jönköping International Busisness School, Sweden

Emergency response
Humanitarian response
Supply Chain

Natural disasters fit into complex emergency scenarios increasing countries’ social, economic, and political challenges. Parallelly,
academics argue that the frequency and intensity of emergency scenarios are related to climate change contributing to policy
approaches weakening the economic growth of vulnerable countries. The floods in Pakistan in 2010 and 2011 submerged 20% of the country’s surface and led to considerable disaster and major economic losses. The floods have indirectly contributed to a sharp increase in political and ethnic violence in Karachi, (Pakistan’s largest city) with a major impact on the social, economic, and political structures. Responding to such challenges, digitalization allows the integration of supply chains by interlinking actors´ activities to increase emergency response efficiency. A focus on digitalization, planning, and management for dealing with complex emergencies is required to be discussed at the supply chains level.

Rahat: Blockchain Technology Enabled Tokenized Aid Distribution

Rajat Rajbhandari, eSatya, Nepal

Aid distribution

The current relief distribution system especially in underdeveloped countries is opaque, slow, and expensive due to
mismanagement, waste, and fraud. Rahat, which means relief in Nepali, is a digital relief distribution and management system. It
uses mobile application and blockchain technology for emergency response and recovery programs for humanitarian aid agencies. Rahat ensures transparency and real time monitoring throughout the relief distribution process. Using Rahat, aid agencies can easily manage and monitor the flow of aid related transactions (monetary or non-monetary or combination thereof) in relief distribution projects and provide end to end transparency among various stakeholders and at the same time reducing transaction cost, administrative cost, and audit costs. Supported by UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, Rahat’s team has already completed several pilots in Nepal to distribute funds to aid recipients.