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Aligning Aid: Recipient perspectives on humanitarian cash and social protection in Ukraine

29 March 2024 — By Ground Truth Solutions

In January 2023, Ground Truth Solutions and the CCD set out to understand the experiences and perceptions of people who had applied for or received cash assistance in Ukraine, both from humanitarian organisations and through government social protection schemes. The Ukrainian cash response is the largest in the history of humanitarian action, reaching an unprecedented scale in 2022. By December 2023,
multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA), the leading form of cash assistance, had reached 9.7 million people through the distribution of USD 1.87 billion. Cash assistance is further distributed as sectoral cash, group cash transfers, and other smaller forms of assistance,
as well as top-ups to government programmes by UN agencies.

Our first round of research, conducted in January-June 2023 in collaboration with Open Space Works Cooperative, provided an overview of people’s experience with cash assistance, from the application stage to spending the money. Through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, the purpose was to understand the broad range of experiences in different locations across the country.

For the second round of research, also in collaboration with Open Space Works Cooperative, we conducted 40 in-depth interviews across eight oblasts in August-September 2023, to gain a better understanding of the personal stories of specific profiles of people. The findings are divided into the general analysis presented in this report, and the detailed user journeys of cash recipients.

The nine personas presented represent the user journeys of men and women of different ages, geographical locations, displacement status, and levels of vulnerability, as well as recipients of various types of cash assistance. These personas are fictional but realistic profiles that contain averaged demographic characteristics of different groups. They offer a comprehensive view of their varied needs, behaviours, and experiences of the cash programmes, presented through visual user journey maps.

To complement those findings, this report offers an in-depth analysis of the interview transcripts and includes recommendations from communities and stakeholders involved in cash assistance programmes on how to enhance the humanitarian response in Ukraine.