Give international aid to refugees as cash, says David Miliband


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The former Foreign Secretary David Miliband says that giving money to refugees can be a more effective way of helping them than providing food, blankets and other forms of aid. Co-authoring an article for The Independent today, Mr Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), pointed to a number of studies that found “giving people cash works”.

“It does not create disincentives to work, it enables people to study and spend money on things that improve their lives; and it doesn’t cause them to go out and squander it on drugs, alcohol or gambling,” he wrote together with IRC official Radha Rajkotia.

Research in refugee camps for Syrians in Lebanon found that it resulted in meals that were “more frequent and had bigger portions”.

“Despite the cash initially being intended by aid agencies for use buying materials to keep warm, the money allowed the refugees to invest in what they knew they most needed – food and water,” they said.