People's Perspectives of Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance in East Lombok
This study was a follow-up to our 2019 study on post-disaster Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) in Central Sulawesi and North Lombok. This study in East Lombok added a baseline and endline element to the assessment along with a survey component to complement the qualitative insights. The study explored how people’s livelihoods have been affected by the 2018 earthquake along with COVID-19, how people perceived the MPCA assistance including the assistance process and mechanism, how families spent the money, and the impacts that it had on their lives.
The qualitative portion of the study was designed to include multi-day community immersions, but due to COVID-19 we modified this to include a combination of scoping, Participatory Focus Group Discussions (pFGDs) with mothers, along with informal conversations with other community members, service providers, and village officials.Some of the key findings from this study included:
Imposition of less restrictions on the use of the MPCA cash assistance enabled people to meet small credit payment obligations which allows further credit to be taken and flexibility for savings.
Smaller disbursements incur higher opportunity costs to collect and are used to pay off incidental debts while larger tranches provide more tangible contribution to families’ costs and the potential to reserve some as savings.
Improved advance information about the timing of disbursements enabled families to manage their household finances better. This reduces stress for beneficiaries and the certainty provides reassurance to credit providers of likely repayment times.
Feedback/complaint phone lines are rarely used not because there are no complaints or queries but mostly because of culturally entrenched norms about seeming ungrateful or criticising service provision. Beneficiaries and the wider community prefer personal interaction to get questions answered.