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Improve communication and feedback with cash recipients

What are the potential risks?

The concerns of affected people are not taken into consideration in the design of cash-based transfers, and this leads to imbalance of power at different stages of the user journey.

What standard do we want to achive?

When identifying risks of abuse of power in cash assistance, participation, inclusion and consultation are fundamental principles. Humanitarian agencies need to ensure that the views of cash recipients in their diversity are taken into consideration.

Key actions

Tools to improve communication and feedback with cash recipients and raise awareness about their rights

What are the potential risks?

  • Information about cash assistance and recipient rights is not shared to recipients in a comprehensive, timely, culturally appropriate or understandable manner. This might lead to opportunistic behaviour of private sector agents and/or recipients not able to access their transfer, potentially adopting negative coping mechanisms as a result.

The complaint and feedback mechanisms in place might not be:

  • accessible to all cash recipients, especially those with special needs;
  • known or not trusted, which discourages cash recipients to raise sensitive issues related to abuse of power;
  • efficient and/or lacking referral pathways with private sector customer service helpdesks.


What do we want to achieve?

  • Effective communication builds trust and creates an environment where cash recipients feel safe to share and receive information.
  • Beneficiaries should know: when they should expect a transfer, how frequently, for how long, the amount they will receive, the fee they will have to pay to the agent, the pieces of information they should provide and what they need to verify before signing the receipt.
  • Cash recipients should know what behaviours are acceptable from parties involved in the provision of cash assistance and how to report abuse of power. Complaints and feedback mechanisms must have a robust information management system and abide by a personal data protection policy to support the collection, acknowledgement, analysis and swift quality response to complaints and feedback received. This will improve issue resolution for reported cases and ensure that cases of abuse of power do not remain unreported and therefore unaddressed.

Questions to understand how cash recipients want to receive information and provide feedback

Clarify what cash recipient preference are in terms of communication channels and language and ensure key messages around cash assistance are communicated through these channels.


Training sessions and animation to raise cash recipient awareness about their rights, the behaviors to expect from agents and how to make a complaint

Raise cash recipient awareness of their client rights vis-à-vis financial service provider field agents and traders so that they feel empowered to uphold these rights. Train cash recipients on their rights and responsibilities, what behaviour to expect from agents, and how to make a complaint and provide feedback.


Tips to set up a functional complaints and feedback mechanism, including referrals

Ensure complaints and feedback mechanisms are: designed in consultation with affected people to adhere to their preferences; accessible to diverse groups of men, women, boys and girls; and confidential and well-functioning. Ensure cash recipients are confident to make a complaint or provide feedback without fear of retaliation or losing their entitlement. Ensure complaints and feedback mechanisms include a range of communication channels to match people’s preference: a toll-free hotline may be one channel but not the only one. Ensure that issues are resolved timely and that feedback analysis translates into operational changes.  


Dealing with sensitive complaints

Ensure that sensitive complaints coming through humanitarian agencies’ complaints and feedback mechanism, or through the private sector customer service helpdesks are referred appropriately and dealt sensitively.