What if the family asks for money?
This question requires discernment and for each organization to determine for themselves according to their mission and organizational model.
Cash transfers to vulnerable families can be risky and should be considered with caution. There is evidence that cash and voucher programs can be effective for ensuring that families receive necessary services, especially during times of crisis. If you are considering giving direct money, do so with varied advisors.
The case for giving money
DIRECT CASH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Some economic development programs have given direct cash transfers to poor families that proved successful in helping the family overcome financial hardship over a period of time.
STIMULUS PACKAGES FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Some countries in the Global North also do direct money stimulus packages to their citizens to help in difficult times. While countries in the Global South might not do this, an organization could consider it.
SUPPORT FOR LOST WORK
Many otherwise stable families may experience job loss or severely reduced hours which creates vulnerability in the family unit. Such families might be well served by cash and voucher support during this time to stabilize the household. Once social distancing guidelines are lifted, the parent(s) may be able to re-enter the work force.
SUPPORT FOR NEEDED SERVICES
Services that families rely on may be the first that are dropped due to financial stress on the family. Providing financial support or scholarship in the areas of food security, healthcare, education and utilities can help the family overcome the difficulties they are facing.
USE MOBILE MONEY
If you elect to do a money transfer to a trusted family, consider using mobile money to ensure social distancing.
WORLD VISION REPORT
To learn more about the benefits and operations of cash and voucher programs during COVID-19, please check this short report from World Vision.
A word of caution
Extended periods of cash handouts and aid can have adverse effects on community development. When utilizing cash and voucher programs, every effort should be made to ensure that the program doesn’t promote dependency or disempower families. Additionally, avoid tying money to the child specifically as that can create an incentive for a placement that is not in the child’s best interest and conversely a reason for the child to be forced out of the home once the monetary aid ends.