Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and IRC to Support Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugee children (Source:
Syrian refugee children (Source:

Syrian refugee children (Source:

International Rescue Committee and the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative are developing cash transfer programming for Syrian refugees.

YEREVAN (Aurora Prize)—The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative are partnering to fund a research program that will enable the IRC to provide vital assistance in the form of reliable and accountable cash distribution to those affected by the conflict in Syria.

With the US $100,000 support of Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, the IRC is chartering the development of a Cash First Roadmap—a yearlong campaign which will propose a methodology to identify the country-level barriers to wider cash transfer programming but also inform the means to address them.

The outcome will provide an established framework for the IRC and wider humanitarian community to follow.

“Every day, the number of people affected by humanitarian crises around the world steadily grows. Now is the time to redouble our efforts not just to raise the necessary resources, but to put in place the evidence-based programs that transform lives,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC. “It is crucial that the humanitarian community continues to look toward and adopt the most cost-effective measures for providing relief, in order to maximize impact to the greatest number of beneficiaries.”

In contrast with other forms of humanitarian aid, which use donor funds to purchase and distribute relief items, cash transfer programming is a proven effective and efficient means to deliver assistance. Evidence shows that delivering cash is cheaper and faster than alternative forms of aid that require procurement, shipping, storing and distribution. Notably, cash transfer programming gives beneficiaries a greater degree of choice and dignity, allowing them to prioritize their own needs and become agents in their own recovery process. Additionally, evidence shows that the provision of cash to communities to spend on existing markets has a multiplier effect on the local economy.

“We’re glad to work with the IRC to further our shared goals of helping those who are most in need,” said Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Co-Founder Ruben Vardanyan. “Like those special few who intervened with courage on behalf of Armenians one hundred years ago, we are proud to continue in their spirit today by supporting organizations addressing today’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We are pleased to support a more innovative means of delivering aid—one which provides faster assistance and greater satisfaction to recipients.”

The IRC, which currently deploys cash assistance to more than 113,000 beneficiaries in 19 countries, will use the Roadmap to further increase its capacity to implement cash programming, and shift focus away from the provision of less-effective, in-kind assistance.


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