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Voices and Views of Beneficiaries on Unconditional Cash Transfers – Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal and the Philippines

2015 — By Susan Angle

Providing cash in humanitarian emergencies is expanding and the topic is well under discussion within the humanitarian sector with topics ranging from high-level consideration of cash as a tool to transform humanitarian aid, the significance of cash as a way to support beneficiary choice and dignity while stimulating livelihoods and economic recovery, and the retooling of aspects of the current humanitarian architecture is called for by some to support cash transfers at scale.

This study presents the views of the beneficiaries of humanitarian cash transfers programming in varied contexts, to amplify their voices – as front-line “experts” and as their own best advocates – within the ongoing humanitarian sector discussion about the use of cash in crisis and disaster-affected settings.

The approach of this study is to provide an open discussion platform for beneficiaries to self-disclose and spontaneously reveal what particular elements of unconditional cash works well, those that do not and what could be improved.

In August and September 2015, a total of 111 beneficiaries in Nepal, the Philippines and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) came together for loosely guided focus groups to consider these fundamental of unconditional cash transfers. Beneficiaries primarily guided the discussions and there was neither certainty nor expectation of what would emerge, rather a hope for discovery. As a complement to open discussion, beneficiaries were also asked to rate the effectiveness or importance of several aspects of unconditional cash transfers often discussed with the humanitarian sector, in effect “testing” that these aspects are also relevant and important to the beneficiaries themselves.

This report is meant as a platform for beneficiaries to speak for themselves, share their experiences and knowledge as the humanitarian sectors continue to discuss the expansion and improvement of unconditional cash transfers as a means to advance humanitarian aid.