Cash for Work (CFW) is a disaster relief program designed to provide temporary paid employment for post-disaster reconstruction to disaster-affected communities.
Why is it paid work? You may think it is better to simply donate money to individuals in need. Of course, it is vital to offer free assistance to individuals who have lost their homes and all of their possessions, however, CFW has many advantages which cannot be achieved through free assistance.
CFW encourages the affected population to have a sense of pride. Getting paid for their work can help to maintain their dignity. Disaster victims can lose their dignity if they are forced to depend on charity from others long terms. They hope to restore their lives independently as soon as possible. As such, CFW can assist their basic human needs by engaging them with work for their community.
Ensuring work opportunities empowers them with motivation and hope. Working is not only a source of income but also something worth living for and an important opportunity to bond with society for most affected individuals. In particular, since they have common desire to revitalize their hometowns, participating in diverse work for regeneration on their own will give them hope for the future.
Giving out money for free brings no value-added within the community. CFW, on the other hand, can create a value through their work. For example, if an affected individual gets 10,000 yen (equivalent to about $120) in return for cooking and distributing meals in an evacuation center, it brings two values: 10, 000 yen is transferred to him/her; and affected individuals at the center can eat hot meals. That is, CFW can create additional values to local community, corresponding to the amount of money provided.
For those reasons, CFW has been applied in various disaster recovery cases in developing countries, including the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, 2004, the cyclone in Myanmar, 2008, and the earthquake in Haiti, 2010. CFW programs by many NGO and U.N. agencies have provided assistance and support effectively and successfully.
The application of CFW can be found in Japanese history as well. In 1854, Hiromura town in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan was hit severely by the Ansei Nankai Earthquake. Goryo Hamaguchi, an owner of a soy sauce factory, donated his own funds and hired affected individuals to build an immense sea wall in his hometown. This can truly be regarded as a typical case of CFW.
‘Introducing Cash for Work’ in website of Oxfam Japan (in Japanese)http://oxfam.jp/whatwedo/cat19/cash_for_work/
Website of Wakayama Prefecture (in Japanese) http://www.pref.wakayama.lg.jp/prefg/000200/nagomi/web/nagomi01/tour.html