Skip to main content

Promote good behaviour of private sector agents and their performance

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 promote good behaviour of private sector agents and their performance

What are the potential risks?

  • Agreements made or standards set by private sector financial institutions at headquarters or capital city level do not translate into ensuring good customer service by field agents. Agents are not sensitized on the appropriate behaviour vis-à-vis vulnerable clients.
  • Regular reviews of financial service providers and their agents are not performed and opportunity for awareness raising and course correction are not optimised.

What do we want to achieve?

  • Financial service providers are partners of humanitarian agencies in the provision of cash assistance and cash recipients are their clients. It is essential to formalise customer service quality expectations in contracts and to improve behaviour from private sector agents through trainings and appropriate incentives and sanctions.


Tips to partner with the private sector and sample contract clauses

Build trust with financial service providers to improve customer services by taking time to explain humanitarian ways of working. Clarify expectations on the services requested, be transparent on the capacity to deliver, work in a spirit of partnership to manage operational challenges and share information transparently. Include measures to mitigate risks of abuses of power in financial service provider contract templates, paying attention to ensuring client protection principles are also included in the contract financial service providers have with their third-party agents. Ensure that data processing at field agent level is not practiced in contradiction with data protection clauses signed in the main contract.


Code of conduct and animation to promote agents' appropriate behavior

Promote practical codes of conduct for financial service providers agents, which include the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. Advocate that contracts between financial service providers and their agents include provision for agent training on client protection and provide training material to this end, if needed.


Questions to review the performance of your financial service provider

Carry out regular financial service provider performance reviews, the results of which may later be shared with other humanitarian agencies through coordination mechanisms such as the inter-agency Cash Working Groups.


Encourage your financial service provider to get international certifications offered by GSMA, Smart Campaign and BTCA

Encourage financial service providers to seek internationally recognized quality certification to raise standards in service delivery.


Monitor the perceptions of people receiving cash transfers in your PDM, with mystery shopping or “Trip Advisor” type of tools to rank agents

Ask cash recipients what their perceptions are related to their interactions with agents and traders, as part of post distribution monitoring (PDM) or mystery shopping exercises and adjust programmes to respond to the issues raised or to include people’s suggestions for improvement.