Electronic aid transfers to Syrian refugees begin in Turkey

26 Sep 16

The European Union will launch its largest-ever humanitarian aid programme, based on providing monthly electronic cash payments to refugees in Turkey, today.

 

Speaking in Ankara, Christos Stylianides, European commissioner for humanitarian aid, said it will make a “real difference” to its one million participants.

The €348m ($391m) emergency social safety net programme is the largest-ever single humanitarian aid project financed by the EU. It will support around one million of the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey, out of a total of three million, in meeting their basic needs.

The refugees will be provided with an electronic card which will be topped up with electronic cash transfers every month.

The European Commission said this will give refugees the “dignity of choice” and boost local markets, where they will spend the funds.

Within the aid and development sphere, demand for cash, rather than in-kind aid, from both aid recipients and aid providers has been growing. Numerous studies have highlighted their benefits, which include better outcomes for both refugees and their host communities.

Electronic cash payments in particular are also more efficient, more secure and faster, bringing benefits for the provider as well as the recipient.

A commitment to cash payments for those in need was made by large donors and organisations at the recent World Humanitarian Summit. However, many argue the level of this commitment and the attention given to the issue was not commensurate with the possible benefits a greater focus on cash transfers could have. 

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