MSc International Disaster Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Cash and Market Based Programming in Crisis Settings

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCRI70081
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No


Cash and vouchers assistance (CVA) is used at scale to respond to emergencies and represented in 2019 almost 18% of the total humanitarian assistance delivered, a 100% increased from 2016. CVA is one option humanitarian organisations envisioned to do more with less and in a way that emphasises crisis affected household choice and dignity. Yet, it is difficult to close the skill gaps on the topic.

While there are a few cash and market courses targeting practitioners, this class offers students a combination of lectures and practical exercises on the topic.



Cash and voucher assistance could be appropriate in up to 80% of contexts and account for around 40% of humanitarian funding. This class aims to build students’ capacity to identify how this can shape the future of the humanitarian world. It also aims to equip them with practical skills to support program design and decision-making.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the class, students will be in a position to:

  • Decide if cash and voucher assistance is an appropriate modality to cover sectoral or multi-sectoral needs in a given humanitarian context;
  • Discuss the opportunity to consider market-based programming to complement more ‘traditional’ humanitarian responses;
  • Articulate the commonalities and linkages between emergency cash transfers and social protection schemes.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the class, students are expected to be in a position to:

  • Explain the different cash and market related concepts and terminologies;
  • Discuss the extent to which the increased uptake of cash and voucher assistance is shaking up the overall humanitarian coordination architecture;
  • Critically interrogate how social protection schemes can be used to support humanitarian delivery.

Intellectual skills

By the end of the class, students are expected to be in a position to:

  • Discuss the state of cash-related evidence;
  • Identify output, outcome and process related indicators to measure the success of a project using cash as its delivery modality;
  • Deepen critical appraisal of the current humanitarian arena;
  • Link theoretical/conceptual material with case study material.

Practical skills

By the end of the class, students will be in a position to:

  • Set up a cash in/cash out process as well as a fruitful collaboration with service providers;
  • Calculate the transfer value and use Minimum Expenditure Basket;
  • Identify the key steps for the design, implementation and monitoring of cash and market-based programming;
  • Use market data to inform pre- and post-crisis humanitarian responses.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of the class, students will have deepened the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to prioritise large volume of information;
  • Working autonomously and in teams;
  • Active listening.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Editorial and analytical skills;
Group/team working
Working autonomously and in groups.
Project management
Meeting deadlines;
Oral communication
Oral and communication skills ¿ especially in terms of comprehending large amounts of information and drawing reasoned conclusions;
Written communication
Putting together and maintaining arguments (useful for a marketing/awareness campaign or business case);
Evidence-led decision-making;

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 25%
Written assignment (inc essay) 75%
Presentation (per group) Summative 25%
Essay - Individual essay on the opportunity to use cash and market-based programming in a particular context to deliver on the assigned project. Summative 75%
1-page essay-structure Formative 0%

Feedback methods

Feedback method Formative or Summative
Written feedback on written assignments S
Verbal feedback per group after the presentation S


Recommended reading

  • CaLP (2020), The State of the world of cash report. Executive summary
  • CaLP (2018), Glossary
  • Juillard Helene (2017), Minimum Standard for Market Analysis, Oxford: CaLP.
  • Ground Truth Solution (2018), Improving user journeys for humanitarian cash transfers – Kenya case study
  • High Level Cash Panel (2015), Doing cash differently: how cash transfers can transform humanitarian aid
  • Bailey, Sarah, and Paul Harvey. 2017. “Time for Change, Harnessing the Potential of Humanitarian Cash Transfers.” London: Overseas Development Institute.
  • Bailey Sarah and Paul Harvey. 2015 State of evidence on humanitarian cash transfers
  • Kukrety Nupur (2016), Working with Cash Based Safety Nets in Humanitarian Contexts, Oxford: CaLP
  • Molyneux, Maxine. 2009. “Conditional Cash Transfers: A ‘Pathway to Women’s Empowerment?’” 5. Pathways Working Paper. Sussex: IDS.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Helene Juillard Unit coordinator

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