New technologies in cash transfer programming and humanitarian assistance

Technology today is evolving at an extraordinary pace, changing the way we live and work. In recent years, advances in new technology in low-income countries mean there is growing interest from donors, practitioners and governments as to how technology can best serve humanitarian responses. Technology is felt to have potential to detect needs earlier, enable greater scale and speed of responses, enhance specificity of resource transfers to match needs and increase accountability while reducing opportunities for corruption and diversion. However, despite overall positive experiences with these technologies, they are not being adopted
systematically in humanitarian programming in areas where systems and solutions do exist.
The humanitarian sector has also experienced rapid uptake in the use of cash transfers as a tool for humanitarian response in recent years. This has been in part enabled by to the rapid spread of branchless banking and electronic payments technologies. The demands of transferring money to large numbers of recipients as well as the level of accountability required of cash transfer programmes have also led humanitarian actors to adopt other technological innovations that have potential to benefit humanitarian programming more broadly.