Listen Now! Human-Centred Design and Humanitarian Cash Programming


Author: Nqobile Khumalo

GSMA has been exploring mobile money enabled cash and voucher assistance (CVAs) for the past five years through its Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation programme which seeks to accelerate the delivery and impact of digital humanitarian assistance. In this webinar, Jenny Casswell, Zoe Hamilton, Louisa Seferis, Theophile Bujeje and Wood Gitobu take us through the findings of the Mobile money enabled cash assistance: User journeys in Burundi report.

There is huge potential that can come from delivering cash assistance digitally through mobile money if time is taken to ensure that the digital ecosystem is well functioning and to optimise digital financial inclusion opportunities. For the humanitarian organisation it can result in transparency as well as fast and flexible delivery, and for the mobile operator it can mean new customers, increased brand recognition and new business opportunities.

The transformational impact of digitising CVAs for the recipient of cash is often overlooked and is an afterthought. It is for this reason that this project has focused on human centred design methodologies to better understand the end- user experience who have received mobile money enabled CVAs in Burundi in particular.

Amongst other results, the report found programmes are often designed from the perspective of the humanitarian organisation rather than the end user. By designing from a user perspective and particularly those most marginalised will ensure equitable end results. Trust was another key issue raised in the user experience, the assistance must be transparent, accessible and issues must be dealt with swiftly. Lastly, the user experience is enhanced when cash assistance is built into longer term financial support and inclusion.

The reports found that users were frustrated when:

  • They did not own a mobile phone.
  • The process is not explained adequately.
  • Users must shoulder the extra costs to access their assistance.
  • Users are not encouraged to use the SIM card.
  • Users must wait a long time between initial targeting and receiving the cash.

Ground Trust designed a mixed methodology approach which mapped user experiences and explored how people experience the process of using mobile money for CVA in Burundi. It allowed for a deep dive with individuals as well as utilising quantitative data to assess how widespread the issues were. The issues identified gave insight into beneficiary’s experiences which allowed Concern Burundi and Cassava Fintech Burundi to iterate and shape their program and technology to implement successfully and deliver to scale.

Through this webinar, we can see importance of different stakeholders coming together using a human centred design approach to work as a team to deliver genuine and lasting benefits for the end user, as well as allowing the both the humanitarian organisation and the mobile operator to meet their goals.