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Case Study: Setting up best practice cash programmes through Cash Program Design Wizard

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Dorcas
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When working on cash programmes it can be an overabundance of information for aid workers with a lot of admin work and time spend on aligning with fellow team members. These programmes in addition tend to change often which can cause a challenge for keeping all documents updates. The Cash Program Design Wizard is a simple web-based tool that helps humanitarian organisations to design cash programmes in line with international standards and best practices and address challenges based on real experiences across multiple contexts. Its main purpose is to guide aid workers through a simple set of intuitive questions that results in a quality cash program. It does so by starting with the reality of the human context rather than the cash solution, reducing uncertainty on cash program parameters and it increases the speed to set up usage across locations and organisations.

The Design Process

25 Aid workers from the consortium partners of Dorcas, ZOA, Help a Child, Tearfund, Cordaid and 510 (Data & Digital initiative of The Netherlands Red Cross) have co-designed the Cash Program Design Wizard. The Cash Program Design Wizard was co-designed using Human Centered Design methodologies. Human Centered Design is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of identifying the problem and solution process which is applied in the co-design sessions.

In 2021 co-design sessions were held across Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In total 25 aid workers shared their experience with cash programming. In 2022 some of these co-designers user tested and improved the product linking it to real cash programmes. From 2018 until 2022 there were many other aid workers that co-designed the Cash Program Design Wizard sharing their learnings and needs as aid workers asked to set up cash programmes including people affected. These sessions included many disaster response types across the Caribbean, Ukraine, Malawi, Kenya, The Netherlands, Chad, Lesotho, Namibia and Nigeria. Together we looked at the tools, trainings and processes that aid workers found useful within their organisation and we clustered their challenges.

**The needs and challenges of the aid worker **

The Cash Program Design Wizard is created across 3 different aspects: desirability of the humans involved (including people affected), the feasibility of the technological and the viability within the humanitarian context. The needs and challenges of the aid worker expressed during the co-design sessions can be concluded into the following:

  • “We would like to have guidelines, policies and tools, but not an information overload! A tool that is not telling you what to do… but facilitating on how to do it!” (desirability of the human)
  • “We often are not reachable during office hours when in the field and have poor connectivity….but we need to make sure we are aligned with headquarters and the other members of the team across different working hours” (feasibility technological)
  • “Things change so often when planning a cash program and often we have to change many documents to keep them up to date and realign with the other team members….” (viability humanitarian)

The benefits of the Cash Program Design Wizard

The learnings of the co-design sessions were incorporated into the Cash Program Wizard. The Cash Program Design Wizard provides the following benefits:

  • Easier: It’s a total package tool and provides guidance through the program for both inexperienced and experienced aid workers to create quality cash programmes.
  • Faster: It delivers an outcome report that is instantly useable.
  • Faster: It saves admin time and enables alignment across a wider team.
  • Easier: It has an online and offline function to ensure no loss of data.

The Cash Program Design Wizard helps aid workers in field offices, country offices and (inter)national headquarters, who want to set up cash programming for people affected within multiple contexts. The tool allows one main owner of the program design (often a Field Officer) to flow through the guiding questions, answering them and changing those answers as and when needed. The latest information automatically updates a standard report structure ensuring that there is one central point of truth on the program design at any given time. A comment section per question allows for other stakeholders in the country office or (inter)national headquarters to input on the latest design or simply stay up to date on the latest status.

The 121 Platform

The 121 platform consists of easy-to-use Cash-Based Aid products for people affected, and aid workers alike in response to the increasing global demand for cash and voucher-based aid in the humanitarian sector (such as the Self Registration App and Humanitarian Organisation Portal). To ensure its scalability the Cash Program Design Wizard has been created to function outside of the 121 Platform. If an organisation has designed the cash program with the Cash Program Design Wizard, they can also consider using the 121 platform. Through the 121 Platform they can ensure that people receive Cash and Voucher Assistance in an easy, safe and fast way. Read more about the 121 Platform here.

The consortium

The development of the Cash Program Design Wizard by the consortium (Dorcas, ZOA, Help a Child, Tearfund, Cordaid and 510) is made possible by funding of the Dutch Relief Alliance through the DRA Innovation Fund. The Dutch Relief Alliance Innovation Fund is a fund created by the Dutch Relief Alliance with financial support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Dutch Relief Alliance operates at a global level through an alliance of Dutch humanitarian organisations and in partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2015. They work together with more than 100 local organisations.

26 April 2022