Jargon of the day: Cash for Work

I have always thought the phrase “cash for work” was kind of crazy. Isn’t cash for work called employment? In practice, however, cash for work is a specific kind of disaster relief where people affected by the emergency are paid to engage in reconstruction activities. That might include cleaning or rebuilding schools and hospitals, clearing roads, or digging latrines. If well-designed, cash for work programs support the rebuilding of a community and provide a much-needed cash infusion. If badly designed, they can disempower communities by not giving community residents a stake and a voice in how their own space is restored.