We strongly believe that an integrated communication approach should be the starting point of large Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programmes. It certainly helps to be as clear and succinct as possible to manage expectations. In the previous blog, we highlighted how poor and often contradictory communication is leading to mass confusion and apprehension amongst beneficiaries. In this blog, we present a case for beneficiary centric communication.
Is communication really a challenge?
The first step is to assess why communication is confusing to beneficiaries?
There are multiple entities and interlinked processes in the DBT delivery channel. This is, understandably, a real challenge for beneficiaries to understand.
For example, Sita Devi, a 45-year-old in Ramgarh district in Jharkhand, was supposed to receive MNREGS payments directly in her account from January 2013 onwards. Previously she used to receive her payments from the Sarpanch (village head) every fortnight.
Many others in the area were aware of agent location and services offered but were unsure whether they could open accounts to receive MNREGS or government benefits there.
Thus Sita’s is not an isolated case. Most of the DBT beneficiaries have faced/are facing similar challenges, for want of a proper communication strategy.
Successful examples from past
MicroSave worked on an assignment to improve communication to beneficiaries of Dilli Annshree Yojana (DAY) in Delhi. Under this scheme, beneficiaries receive the cash food subsidy directly in beneficiaries’ accounts based on Aadhaar authentication. The communication campaign prepared and delivered under the assignment had a far-reaching impact on the knowledge and awareness of beneficiaries of the scheme. Before the campaign, DAY beneficiaries had very little knowledge about the very basic issues such as:
- The need to open an account
- How linking such accounts to Aadhaar can help the payment of future benefits etc.
- Whether they are required to withdraw all money or can leave balances in the account
- Whether they needed separate accounts for the different DBT schemes
They were under an impression that DAY accounts cannot be used for personal savings; that one should not leave any money in the DAY accounts; and that different accounts were required for each benefit they received. These myths and apprehensions were removed after a comprehensive Financial Education (FE) module were developed and delivered to a representative sample of beneficiaries.