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Case Study

“No-one has ever helped me like this.” User journeys of cash recipients in Ukraine

22 December 2023 — By Ground Truth Solutions

Russia‘s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has caused a severe humanitarian crisis – with widespread displacement, destruction of infrastructure, and an urgent need for humanitarian assistance. In response, the humanitarian community has supported the Ukrainian government to initiate the largest cash assistance programme in history. This effort aims to address affected people’s immediate and diverse needs, providing crucial support in these challenging times.

In January 2023, Ground Truth Solutions in collaboration with the Collaborative Cash Delivery Network started a project to study the experiences and perceptions of people who applied for or received cash assistance in Ukraine, both from humanitarian organizations and through government social protection schemes. Building on the initial findings from our first round of research conducted in January–June 2023, this second round delves deeper into the experiences of cash assistance recipients.

The primary objective is to document and analyze the individuals’ varied and complex user journeys of engaging with cash programmes. A nuanced understanding is provided of the processes of getting informed about, applying for, receiving, and using cash assistance, the coping mechanisms employed by the recipients, as well as the recommendations they have for improving their experience. The project aims to contribute to the optimization and improvement of cash-based interventions, ensuring
they are more responsive to the preferences and needs of the people they intend to serve.

The research employs a user journey methodology – a qualitative approach that focuses on visualizing and understanding individuals‘ interactions with cash assistance programmes. This methodology emphasizes the human-centric aspects of service delivery, moving beyond an operational, system-centered view to a more empathetic and person-focused perspective. By encouraging interviewees to narrate their experiences, this approach allows us to capture the sequential stages of their interactions with cash programmes, encompassing their actions, feelings, and perceptions.

The research involved 40 in-depth interviews in 25 different locations across eight oblasts of Ukraine between August and September 2023. The sample of the study was built based on the inputs provided by cash actors during a design workshop held by Ground Truth Solutions and Open Space Works Cooperative in collaboration with the Collaborative Cash Delivery Network in July 2023. It ensures coverage of the main factors influencing people’s experience with cash assistance such as geographic location, displacement status, demographics, vulnerabilities, types of cash assistance received, and number of cash programmes engaged with. The interview guide was designed to elicit detailed narratives reflecting the user journey’s different stages.

The qualitative interviews led to the creation of nine personas representing fictional but realistic profiles. These personas contain averaged demographic characteristics of different groups, their varied needs, behaviours, and goals, and offer a holistic view of how distinct factors influence individuals’ experiences with cash programmes.