Community engagement and hiring for cash transfer programming

Cash-Based Interventions (CBIs)

Community engagement and hiring for cash transfer programming

Contact details

Submitted by: Rachel Waddell, Director of European Partnerships

Email: [email protected]




Introduction to the project




Started in 2019. Final report due in March 2021, with full saturation of the settlement and host households due to be completed by February 2022.


We directly engage refugee communities by hiring them as a significant (30%) portion of our staff. This practice enhances refugee self-reliance and gives them ownership in the development and execution of our operations.

Project aims

We believe that large Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT) have the potential to encourage long-term planning for recipients’ future, create a positive impact in surrounding communities, and generate long terms savings for donors by reducing reliance on long-term humanitarian aid.

Resources used

Grant money; third party researchers; mobile money partnerships (MTN) and technology.

Main activities of the Good Practice 

Our field team has conducted community engagement meetings (Barazas) in each village (cluster) of Kiryandongo settlement and started with the host community in Barazas in September. These have been very well attended (average of 170+ people), with good recipient participation and broad buy-in for the programme. These sessions were intentionally designed to have inputs from refugees themselves.


  • IKEA foundation
  • Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda
  • Idinsight
  • Global Innovation Fund
  • UKaid (UK's Department for International Development)
  • Conrad Hilton Foundation
  • UBS Optimus Foundation
  • Svenska Postkodstiftelsen (Swedish Postcode Lottery Foundation)
  • TENT Foundation
  • Comic Relief

How challenges were overcome

A primary challenge was hiring for jobs in over 10 different languages, which we were able to do by hiring refugees.

Another challenge was targeting households and verifying recipient data (including clusters of residence). To address this, we embedded field officers in the communities to find the correct location of households.

Results of the Good Practice 

  • Unconditional cash transfers (UCT) empower refugees to choose how their aid dollars are spent.
  • Larger lump-sum UCT’s increase self-reliance, encouraging long-term investment and planning.
  • Implementing a public lottery system ensures that the entire refugee settlement can be served fairly, and that the project’s impact can be rigorously evaluated through randomization.

Next steps

Continue refugee enrolments, transfers and collect qualitative data to understand how transfers affect the lives of recipients in host communities and the relationships between refugee and host communities.