Islamabad: In July 2010, Pakistan was hit by one of the most devastating flood disasters in the country’s history. The disaster affected 20 million people and inundated nearly 20 percent of the country. The sheer scale and scope of the disaster severely challenged the capacity of the entire humanitarian community (Government, UN and NGOs), including CARE.
In response to the vast and diverse destruction caused by the floods, both government and humanitarian actors responded by increasingly utilising cash‐based transfers to substitute or complement various types of in‐kind assistance such as food provision and shelter, and to support livelihood activities of affected populations. This experience and the expertise applied in the design, implementation and evaluation of cash‐based programs in Pakistan has generated valuable knowledge for that can lead to improvements of humanitarian response not only in Pakistan but in other countries affected by disaster.
Furthermore, the humanitarian community progressively recognises that the private sector can uniquely contribute to the overall capacity of the emergency response by applying innovative technologies, practices and perspectives. This has lead to the development of new opportunities for cooperation with specialised financial service providers to strengthen aid delivery mechanisms. Such providers have better access to new technologies and are often better prepared than humanitarian actors to provide innovative ways to deliver financial services. As banks look to expand access to remote areas that are otherwise unapproachable through standard financial structures, they have been exploring ‘mobilebased’ banking and the establishment of a network of disbursement points in remote and rural areas.
One innovative example of cash transfer initiatives established in cooperation with the private sector is CARE’s partnership with Tameer Micro Finance Bank (TMFB) in the south‐eastern provinces of Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan. Working with TMFB and local partner NGOs to provide cash grants and cash for work, CARE was able to rapidly scale‐up operations, exceeding beneficiary targets and expands to services/interventions to other provinces.
With donors becoming more and more receptive to cash‐based assistance, the overall success of the relationship with TMFB has indicated the need to better understand the potential risks and opportunities of working in partnership with the private sector during emergencies, especially when providing financial assistance to those in need.
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