Cash Assistance

The best hope for urban refugees.

Photo: © UNHCR/Pedro Costa Gomes

The vast majority of refugees live in urban settings – where they have access to markets and services in the same ways that local communities do. Providing refugees with cash enables them to fulfil their needs in a dignified manner and contribute to the local economy. 

Cash assistance helps displaced people meet a variety of needs, including access to food, water, healthcare and shelter. 

Of the 5.6 million Syrians who have fled their country the majority are from cities where they worked as retailers, professionals and business owners. As a result, more than 80% of them have chosen to settle in urban areas, with Jordan hosting some 654,000. Most families have exhausted their resources and can be forced into dangerous and exploitative work—such as begging on the streets or prostitution—simply to survive. 

Helping Urban Refugee Families in Jordan

Cash assistance is a lifeline for Syrian refugees living outside camps in Jordan. 

That’s why UNHCR provides the most vulnerable Syrian refugee families in Jordan with monthly cash assistance. The cash assistance helps families meet the majority of their basic needs, by helping to ensure that they can afford rent and pay monthly bills. 

This financial stability reduces stress and restores a sense of normalcy in the lives of families displaced from home. It allows parents to keep their children in school, put nutritious food on the table and access healthcare. 

Helping Urban Refugee Families in Jordan  

$93 out of every $100 donated goes directly to refugee families. There are little overhead or administrative fees except for minimal bank charges. 

Over 78% of Syrian refugee families live below the national poverty line, on less than $96 per month. 

Job opportunities for Syrian refugees are scarce and limited to only a few sectors.  

A Syrian woman talks about cash assistance

Why Cash Assistance?

UNHCR’s cash transfers are a successful method for assisting refugee families who have settled in cities where large distributions of aid are not possible or ineffective. This innovative approach has proven transformational for families because cash transfers: 

Provide flexibility  

for families to spend money where most needed, whether it be for rent, to pay bills or buy food.  

Improve efficiency  

by eliminating delivery and distribution costs that, in turn, reduce administrative costs.  

Return dignity  

to families who can take charge of their lives, restoring a sense of normalcy and autonomy.  

Maintain livelihoods  

by ensuring refugees don’t need to sell their tools or other assets for cash.  

Use existing and new technology  

like ATM networks, to provide assistance quickly and in places where physical distributions are impossible, and iris scanning technology to reduce fraud.  

Boost the local economy  

in neighbourhoods that have generously welcomed refugees and seen their resources stretched to a breaking point. 

A small amount of cash every month makes a big difference in the lives of Syrian refugees. 

How does Cash Assistance work?

The program is designed to get help to families quickly and securely, through a customized approach. Here’s how it works:  

  • Refugees are registered and their irises scanned using state of the art technology. 
  • A home visit is conducted and a questionnaire completed to assess vulnerability. Families that meet the criteria are registered in the program. 
  • Families are selected to receive cash assistanceand given information on how to access their monthly cash. They receive a text message when cash is available for withdraw. 
  • Recipients withdraw cash each month from a secure account at ATMs using iris scanning – no pin code is required.This secure and technologically advanced process instantly authenticates refugees and reduces fraud. 

Donate Today
$93 out of every $100 donated to this initiative goes directly to a refugee family 

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