What's the best way to support international relief efforts? Cash
Posted: June 15, 2022 | Word Count: 524
The results are in! The United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) and the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance have announced the 2022 winners of the "Cash is Best" Public Service Announcements for International Disasters (PSAid) contest.
The annual contest encourages college students from across the country to create public service announcements on why monetary donations are the best way to help affected communities after international disasters. Of 107 submissions from 13 universities, 13 winners were chosen. All of this year's winners were from Arizona State University. CIDI will use these winning digital, static image and video PSAs to educate the American public on why cash is best when helping surrounding an international disaster.
"Working on this #CashisBest PSAid contest has been a very eye-opening and a great learning experience for me. I was able to research and better understand how monetary donations can better serve in international disaster relief and be quick and more accessible to the communities in need," said Ryan Peterson, second place winner in the digital image category. "I hope that through my digital image, more people can visualize that message as well."
Why is cash best?
When disaster strikes, many people are moved to help, even if they or people they know aren't directly affected. However, most people don't realize that not all donations actually help, and some may even hinder the relief effort. Unsolicited material donations, like food, water and clothing, are well-meaning but are not always appropriate or necessary, depending on the situation on the ground. In addition, shipping material goods overseas can be expensive, and the goods then require sorting and storage by those providing disaster relief efforts, which can slow down efforts and divert staff and resources.
On the other hand, monetary donations like cash, credit card or online direct donations are fast and flexible. Aid groups on the ground can use the cash to buy exactly what they need, when they need it, which is important as the needs on the ground are constantly changing after a disaster. Cash is best isn't just a tagline. It is the most economical, efficient and effective way to support aid groups working on the ground.
Benefits of cash donations
When disaster strikes, monetary donations allow humanitarian organizations to directly purchase what is needed when it's needed. Cash donations also:
- Avoid transportation delays, shipping and administrative costs
- Enable relief groups to quickly purchase food and safe drinking water locally for those in need
- Boost local economies by allowing what is needed to be purchased locally
- Allow for flexibility to respond to changing needs
- Can require less energy and generate fewer carbon emissions by purchasing items locally
"This message could not be more critical as the world's eyes continue to watch the tragedy in Ukraine," said Sarah Charles, Assistant to the Administrator of USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. "I was recently at the Polish border where I saw well-meaning donations piling up and heard directly from aid workers who asked USAID to reiterate the message that cash is best."
To learn more about why cash is best and how to best help surrounding international disasters, visit Cidi.org.