During September 2009, CASE Ukraine experts organized focus group interviews with social assistance beneficiaries in five labour and social policy offices participating in the SARP project. Participants of the focus groups represented beneficiaries of all social assistance types that are covered by the pilot project, namely, benefits to low-income families, subsidies, benefits for children up to the age of 3, and benefits to lone mothers.
Focus group interviews serve as an important element of the project’s results evaluation. The aim of this research technique is to reconstruct as closely as possible the real processes of social communication—to confront the different opinions of participants through discussion.
The goal of the focus group interviews was to reveal the participants’ attitude towards the social assistance system, its representatives and procedures applied, as well as towards the reform elements, such as introduction of indirect means-testing, agricultural income imputation, and privileges and subsidies cashing-out.
Conducted focus group interviews allowed for discovering the problems faced by social assistance beneficiaries, their attitude to the social assistance system, potential changes of the system, and the piloted mechanisms. Focus group participants suggested improvements to the system and expressed valuable ideas on system reform elements.