We asked a recipient if she had any complaints about GiveDirectly.
My conversation with Alice
Giving cash has a huge impact on the lives of recipients, and afollow-up call is one of the best places to get the raw data about how recipients feel afterwards.
I wrote down this conversation after a phone call with Alice, who lives in Bomet County, Kenya, where GD recently began operating. The recipient’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.
“So, what is the most intriguing question to ask the recipient and get interesting responses?” I asked myself.
Me: Have you heard any complaints about GiveDirectly in your village?
Alice: Wait a minute! Complaints? What are you saying? If I heard someone complaining about GiveDirectly, I would literally pluck that person’s hair out! I mean, who would complain about an organization that has brought such a change in the village. Never in my life did I think I would see my village as bright as it is today. So, about complaints? No, I have not heard anyone complain.
Me: What about those who did not receive the transfer, what are they saying?
Alice: How excited they are! In as much as they did not receive the money, they do not hold anything against GiveDirectly. And again, before registration, you had told us that not everyone is going to receive the money, based on the criteria. Although some may get a little pissed off that they were unlucky, but in a way we are helping each other and they end up being satisfied.
Me: Is there anything that you bought that you wish you had not bought?
Alice: How exciting to see all these things I have now. Sometimes I just sit back and smile at these things that I bought. My children think I am going crazy but it is because of the excitement and unbelief that I have these things now. Let me tell you about the new shoes I bought. I had never worn such shoes in my life and for a minute, I had to walk around in my house just so that I can get used to walking in them so that I do not embarrass myself out there by tripping over. Honestly when I look at all these things, my heart gets illuminated. So, you should even be telling me when you are sending me the next transfer so that I can buy more!
Me: Have you heard of any extreme arguments related to the transfers in households to an extent of fighting and separation?
Alice: (Laughing) What is that? You should come and see how families have been united because of these transfers. Before, I could not see a man and his spouse together in a motorcycle ride, but nowadays, they go to the market together to get things they need. You find them resting together after lunch hour enjoying the breeze, simply because their worries are reduced. I have come to think of it, it is actually poverty that has been bringing fighting within families, because in poverty, the husband has no means to provide and when the wife asks for something, the question pops, “where do you think I get the money for everything in the house” which leads to conflicts. So, since you sent these transfers, there has not been any fights. In fact, those who used to drink alcohol have stopped, because there is much to do: some need to graze their animals, some need to work on the business that they started. Therefore, no fights at all!