Applying Behavioral Science to Humanitarian Cash & Voucher Assistance for Better Outcomes for Women in MENA
Publication Date: 15/04/2020
Ideas42 and CARE International conducted research in three of CARE’s countries of presence—Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey—to develop a thorough understanding of the contexts in which women recipients in these settings receive, make decisions on, and use CVA to support themselves and their households. In the pages that follow, we aim to share behavioral insights that shed new light on the many challenges facing women when using CVA in humanitarian settings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In summary, some of the key design principles that can increase the impact of CVA for women include minimizing the mental burdens placed on women throughout the transfer process, priming women to affirm positive identities at key times, making the full range of what CVA can be used for visible, and framing CVA in ways that encourages planning and careful consideration of spending priorities.
Though the guidance is best used during project assessment and design, it can be adapted to different phases in the project cycle. Users are encouraged to ensure that a wider range of specialists participate in discussions seeking to incorporate the guidance—including CVA Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) teams, and sector specialists or technical leads. It can also be used as a point of reflection for evaluation or after-action reviews. In addition, the involvement of program support staff and senior management will be valuable to ensure that the points are actionable and properly resourced. Overall, we hope that this guidance at the least starts a wider conversation on applied behavioral science in the humanitarian space and encourages humanitarian organizations to work to implement behaviorally-informed programs with CVA.