Blog Article

The Stellar Development Foundation Joins CALP to Further the Role of Digital Assets and Payments in Humanitarian Aid


Tori Samples

Publishing date

Aid delivery

Humanitarian aid

Stellar aid assist


As global emergencies dominate headlines and the humanitarian world diligently responds, the CALP Network plays an invaluable role enabling, educating, and advocating for responsible cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programs. CALP, originally started as the “Cash Learning Partnership,” brings organizations together to strengthen capacity, knowledge, coordination, and policy for CVA. They focus on themes such as digital payments, gender and inclusion, multi-purpose cash assistance, human mobility, and locally-led CVA. Collectively, CALP member organizations deliver the majority of humanitarian cash and voucher assistance worldwide.

The CALP Network’s purpose is to maximize the potential that humanitarian CVA can bring to people in contexts of crisis as one component of broader financial assistance. CALP envisions a future in which people are enabled to overcome crises with dignity by exercising choice and their right to self-determination in order to achieve long term well-being.

The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) turned to CALP’s vast network of educational resources as we ramped up on humanitarian cash transfer programs in preparation for the Stellar Aid Assist launch in 2022. A year later, we are excited to announce that SDF is the newest member organization of CALP. As the first Layer 1 blockchain to join the network, we look forward to advancing the conversation on the role of technology within humanitarian response and payments.

Stellar Aid Assist

Cash and voucher assistance serve as a lifeline to millions worldwide in support of basic needs. Stellar Aid Assist leverages the power of the Stellar network and the ecosystem built around it to get money into the hands of those who need it, quickly and at low-cost.

Used by leading humanitarian organizations since December 2022, Stellar Aid Assist is powered by the Stellar Disbursement Platform, an open source tool for sending bulk payments around the world. Due to its quick deployment and ability to rapidly scale in moments of crisis, Stellar Aid Assist provides organizations with an efficient, transparent, digital path for delivering humanitarian payments directly to recipients’ mobile digital wallets. For recipients, it provides a means of receiving stable value that can travel with them wherever they go.

The complexity of humanitarian aid

Humanitarian cash transfer programs are notoriously complex. Program design must center around the individual being served, but those needs vary as much as the population itself. Each country, situation, and response are different. Organizations struggle to balance recipient choice, data privacy, donor mandates, monitoring and evaluation requirements, technical efficiency, and the ever-changing dynamics of the situation on the ground. This is not a reflection on any humanitarian organization; the situations in which these groups operate are some of the most challenging in the world. CALP helps give clarity–from design to implementation to evaluation–by disseminating best practices, coordinating research, and advocating for evidence-based policy.

Humanitarian organizations coordinate extensively to make sure the right people are being served by CVA programs. CALP helps facilitate these efforts by supporting cash working groups around the world. These types of cross-agency efforts can potentially benefit from technology like the Stellar network, which allows for traceability without sacrificing data privacy. Deduplication and data sharing extend the reach of donor dollars but require intentional collaboration between organizations already stretched thin responding to crisis.

CVA programs have consistently been proven efficient and effective over the past several decades, in part due to research by CALP and member organizations. Blockchain-based disbursement solutions may represent the next iteration of cash programming. While never intended to replace existing methods of delivering funds, programs like Stellar Aid Assist allow for new innovations like portable, digital money that remains stable in value and does not require a bank account. We look forward to exploring more through collaborating with other CALP member organizations well-versed in the challenges and opportunities associated with CVA programs.

Why SDF joined CALP

At SDF, we understand the benefit a network can bring to an ecosystem of decentralized entities. We are thrilled to contribute our experience in digital payments and technology to the network as we learn from the deep humanitarian experience of other member organizations. Becoming a member allows SDF to participate in CALP meetings, contribute to CALP communications and publications, and apply for seats on CALP’s Technical Advisory Group and Board. We will use our membership as a way to enable exchange, contribute to learning, and aid knowledge sharing, networking, and coordination around the appropriate and timely use of cash programming in humanitarian response.

SDF’s admission to CALP is another proof point that blockchain can play a valuable role even in the most challenging environments. Real-world use cases like facilitating humanitarian payments are core to SDF’s mission and values. SDF has a valuable role to play in reducing the strain the legacy financial system puts on organizations doing life-changing work every day. We are proud to come alongside the other member organizations of the CALP Network to promote and improve humanitarian cash programming around the world.

Learn more about CALP and their mission: