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The potential of cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programming has been demonstrated many times over. But how does the humanitarian “cash revolution” present itself to the intended beneficiaries? What concerns do affected people have and how can their perspectives help inform a more effective roll-out of cash-based assistance? To find out, we partnered with the German Federal Foreign Office and the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) to launch the Cash Barometer.

The Cash Barometer is an independent accountability mechanism that combines standardised face-to-face surveys with user-centred approaches to allow cash recipients to provide feedback on cash and voucher assistance, and participate in decision making.

Accountability in Action: trainings in CAR, Nigeria, and Somalia

Ground Truth Solutions offers training for humanitarian staff working on cash and voucher programmes. In a series of workshops, we will work with agencies in using feedback from aid recipients to inform project design, implementation, and monitoring. For more information on upcoming trainings in Nigeria and Somalia, please see the two-pagers below. More information on training activities in CAR will be published soon.

Central African Republic

The Cash Barometer launched in CAR in 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a series of qualitative interviews with market traders and CVA recipients to capture User Voices in the context of the crisis. 

In 2021, CVA was significantly scaled up in CAR, reaching 1.5 million people between January and December 2021, compared with 848,000 in 2020. To support efforts to adapt programmes based on the views of recipients, we conducted qualitative interviews with 24 people to ask them about their experiences when receiving cash or vouchers, as well as the protection risks they face at different stages of the process. While the recipients we spoke to appreciate their autonomy and feel less dependent on others, they feel that targeting is unfair and that unclear communication around selection criteria can lead to tensions among community members and feelings of insecurity. People also feel unsafe while travelling to distributions, waiting at distributions sites and after distributions. They demand safer and more dignified access to aid, more direct communication with aid providers, and increased accountability of all stakeholders such as the vendors who exchange vouchers for goods.  

Ground Truth Solutions will conduct a quantitative survey with CVA recipients in four subprefectures in mid-2022 to allow further analysis of people’s perceptions of aid. Data collection and analysis will be followed by dialogue about the data with aid providers, and workshops on how to act on the survey’s key findings.   

Nigeria

In late 2019, we launched the Cash Barometer in Nigeria with a survey of CVA recipients in Borno State. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we adapted our approach to explore how CVA recipients, humanitarians, and financial service providers perceived the economic impact of the pandemic. A second round of surveys in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY States) was conducted in November 2020 and a third qualitative piece was conducted in June 2021 to follow up on these results, looking deeper into fairness and aid modality preferences.

Building on lessons learnt from the first iteration of the Cash Barometer project, we trialled an alternative analytical framework in our fourth round of quantitative data collection. In collaboration with the Cash Working Group (CWG), we designed a survey instrument using a model based on customer satisfaction research to explore how different conceptions of fairness impact overall satisfaction with CVA. Findings were analysed with key stakeholders including the CWG, Protection Cluster, key donors, and individual aid organisations. Donors have also committed to continued support for the Cash Barometer as “an important tool to understand the experience of CVA recipients” in the Cash Common Donor Approach plan for Nigeria.

Somalia

Ground Truth Solutions has been tracking the experiences of aid recipients in Somalia and Somaliland since 2017. In this time, cash and voucher recipients have consistently requested more involvement and consultation from aid actors than they receive. Despite ongoing efforts to centralise Accountability to Affected Populations in Somalia’s response planning, there are still significant gaps in the inclusion of affected people in decision-making on aid.

Our latest findings from data collected as part of the Cash Barometer in October 2021 shed light on these gaps. The 1,526 cash and voucher recipients we spoke to do not feel their opinions are considered by aid actors and tell us they need clearer key information from them, including the duration of their assistance. They call for broader coverage across the response as a growing share of Somalia’s population is in need of humanitarian aid and report an improvement in their ability to meet their most important needs, compared to 2020.

Ground Truth Solutions will continue to collect quantitative and qualitative perception-based data to support the humanitarian response throughout 2022. We have also convened a community of practice as part of our Accountability in Action training series across Somalia. These monthly sessions bring together humanitarian staff at the intersection of CVA and AAP to explore key accountability concepts and their practical application to CVA.

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