Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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When you think of Australia providing foreign aid, you probably think of giving food and crop-growing supplies or providing access to water. Indeed, this vital work is imperative and continuing. In time sensitive situations such as the Afghanistan Food Crisis however, a transfer of cash can be a more effective way to deliver foreign aid to people in need.

So what are cash transfers and why are they so effective in a crisis, such as the current one in Afghanistan?  When is a cash transfer a good idea, and when is something else more appropriate? Let’s take a look at this trusted means of foreign aid.

What is a cash transfer?

A cash transfer is a direct payment that can be sent to people during an emergency. Cash transfers are generally provided in local currency, which can be spent in local businesses, thus also supporting local economies during a crisis.

In situations such as the Afghanistan Food Crisis, this form of foreign aid exists as an alternative to distributing goods like food, blankets, hygiene packs and temporary shelter kits.

In other cases, cash transfers complement the distribution of such items. Aid organisations might distribute food and use cash transfers to let families buy pots and plates to cook with, for example. Or, if people already have sufficient food, giving cash transfers can mean they now have access to electricity or fuel to cook with.

In short, cash transfers allow people to buy what they most need now and make the choices that will best support their families in times of crisis, affording them more dignity and power over what they need.

Why use a cash transfer?

Cash transfers are a highly effective method to provide individuals and families with emergency support during conflict or crisis. Transferring cash can be utilised by people in need much more efficiently than locating, transporting, and distributing goods. Cash is also a more flexible and dignified form of foreign aid for people facing a crisis, such as in Afghanistan.

Cash is preferably given electronically where infrastructure allows, but physical cash is also given where necessary. An individual or family can spend a cash transfer on their specific needs. They can choose where they want to shop and what they need or want to spend the cash on. A family that has only a basic food supply for example, would then have the means to purchase additional groceries.

Cash transfers enable a family to support their local economy and means that they can have a diverse range of foods to eat. A transfer of cash also allows a family to pay for other essentials, such as clean water and health care. With cash transfers, individuals and families are empowered to make the purchasing decisions that best support their needs in a crisis.

When are cash transfers effective?

Although an effective means of foreign aid in the context of the Afghanistan Food Crisis, cash transfers are not always the preferred option. For example, if a region is in lockdown, recipients may be unable to spend a cash transfer at local businesses.

Or when ChildFund wants to help families in rural areas, distributing food, shelter kits, and other goods is more effective than providing cash alone. Likewise, a cash transfer is less effective when something else, such as immediate shelter, is needed more urgently.

How are cash transfers helping during COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world’s poorest countries particularly harshly. It has impacted people’s health and education, and entire economies. Fresh food, clean water, sources of income and even leisure activities have all been impacted.

However, as the world cautiously opens up again, Australian foreign aid can make a difference to those countries most in need. With cash transfers, families in Afghanistan can be empowered to decide and buy the food and other essentials that they need. Transferring cash to families provides them with the flexibility to purchase basic necessities, and can prevent children having to leave school to work.

You can help to provide children and their families in Afghanistan with emergency food and assistance. You can donate once or monthly now, through ChildFund’s Afghanistan Food Crisis Appeal page.

Donations to charity are tax deductible and a great way to give back to get back. Your donation will help children and communities in need, while reducing your taxable income, which means you’ll get a nice boost on your tax return.

But, we understand that you may want to know how your money is spent. You worked hard to earn it, and when making a tax deductible charity donation, you want to be sure it’s actually helping the children and communities you care about.

One way that you can decide how your money will be spent by us is to donate a charity gift from our range of Gifts for Good. You’ll donate a gift, and we’ll provide it to a child, family or community that we work with. To help you choose, we’ve listed the top 7 most in need gifts in the communities where we work.

1. Donate chickens for charity

Donate chickens as a tax deductible charity gift

Chickens are a gift which improve the livelihoods of families in poverty. The chickens lay eggs which provide the family with additional food and income to support the household.

We provide a family living in one of the communities where we work with a dozen chicks. Over time they’ll have enough chickens to fill their own small chicken coop.

2. Donate a share of a deepwater borehole system

In rural communities, safe drinking water isn’t always accessible to the most vulnerable families. Drinking from creeks or open wells can cause young children to come down with diarrhoea, fever and other easily preventable health conditions.

When you gift a share of a deepwater borehole system, you help a school or community in a remote village to keep their children healthy, and to grow up strong.

3. Gift a goat to a family

Goats make a great charity gift as they are easy animals to raise in harsh climates, which means families suffering from a food crisis have the most to gain from your donation.

They produce milk for mothers to feed their children and their manure is great for small gardens, providing families living in poverty with a valuable source of nutrition. Families can also sell goats milk to supplement the household income.

4. Donate a hand washing station to a community in need

Good hygiene significantly reduces the spread of disease and ensures children stay clean and healthy. In developing communities, however, good hygiene facilities aren’t always easily accessible. As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic, access to clean water, hand sanitiser, soap and other hygiene essentials will save lives by slowing the spread of the virus.

When you donate a hand washing station as your tax deductible gift, you provide a community with the ability to practice safe hygiene by creating a place for locals to wash their hands and brush their teeth to remain healthy.

5. Donate school supplies

Donate school supplies as a tax deductible charity gift

Families that can’t afford to pay for school materials may pull their children out of school altogether. You can donate a school supplies set, which is a collection of essentials that every child needs to succeed in school.

One of our school supplies sets contains a bag, books, pens and pencils, – everything they need to stay in school.

6. Donate a warm blanket and pillow

A warm blanket and pillow are a simple luxury that many children in poverty can’t afford. Quality bedding enables children in the communities where we work to sleep comfortably, which means they’ll be able to have increased energy to enjoy the childhood they need.

7. Gift mosquito nets for a child’s bed

One child under five dies from malaria every two minutes. Mosquito nets protect children and their families at night from insect bites, which spread malaria and other illnesses. When you choose mosquito nets as a charity gift, you’re providing a cost-effective way to save lives.

Buy a tax deductible charity gift to boost your tax return

There are many ways to give back and get back more on your tax return. For us, charity gifts are a great way to give that are fun and unique, and also help the children and families that need it most.

If you can’t decide which gift you’d like to give but still want to make a tax deductible donation, you can support our Afghanistan Food Crisis Appeal. Cash transfers have been proven to be an effective means of emergency support, and your donation will go to the families in Afghanistan who need it the most.

You can also use our handy Tax Calculator to estimate the potential tax benefit of your donation.

Calculate your tax benefit

Use our tax calculator to estimate the potential tax benefit of your donation.

If you donate


On a before tax income of


The actual cost of your donation is

$xx.xx a xxxx

Because you save

$xx.xx a year on tax

This table is based upon 2018-2019 ATO individual Income Tax rates. The above rates do not include the Medicare Levy of 2%. The exact level of your tax deductibility will vary depending on your present financial circumstances. Please seek assistance from an independent taxation professional for formal guidelines.