IOM, WFP first beneficiary data exchange in South Sudan

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) recently completed the first functional data exchange between their own beneficiary management systems to provide updated information on tens of thousands of people receiving assistance in Upper Nile and Jonglei regions.

The data exchange, the first of its kind, involves IOM’s BRaVE, a biometric beneficiary data management system used to strengthen humanitarian responses, and WFP’s SCOPE system, a beneficiary information and transfer management platform that helps WFP know better the people it serves.

Under an agreement signed in 2018, the two agencies will share biometric data of individuals registered in each of their systems. The exercise aims to harmonize and synchronize the information in the two management systems to enhance efficiency in the delivery of assistance.

As part of the first phase of the data sharing arrangement, IOM and WFP have so far exchanged the data of more than 100,000 people in Upper Nile and Jonglei states.

As part of WFP and IOM’s duty of care to people they serve, data privacy and protection is a fundamental part of the agreement. The use of data is overseen by a corporate data governance mechanism that provides rigorous safeguards to mitigate against risk of leakage and ensure data privacy.

In line with industry standards, the cyber and data security framework follows UN rules on data privacy and human rights and is consistently upgraded as technology and systems advance.

The exercise in South Sudan, which involved upgrading both systems to ensure the inter-operability, compatibility and accuracy of beneficiary data to enable bulk data migration, will reduce duplication and cut down on redundant manual data collection.

“As humanitarian needs continue to rise in South Sudan, outstripping available resources, innovative approaches are urgently required to help us meet needs,” says Ronald Sibanda, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan.

“The data sharing initiative with IOM will not only help us provide assistance better by cutting duplication and redundant processes but helps us track population movements in case of further displacement.”

In South Sudan, WFP uses SCOPE to biometrically register people across all locations, throughout its food and cash programmes. Once registered, people redeem their food or cash assistance through fingerprint authentication and their household SCOPE card. WFP has now registered 1 million people on the SCOPE system in South Sudan and plans are underway to register five million people on the system by 2020.

Through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM conducts registration – biometric and non-biometric – at the request of governments or other humanitarian partners to support the targeting and delivery of humanitarian assistance and services.

“The successful development of interoperability between SCOPE and BRaVe for data exchange of beneficiary information is a remarkable achievement in harmonizing beneficiaries’ personnel data management and improving the efficiency of aid delivery for humanitarian response since WFP is the largest food assistance provider and IOM is the key data provider through the DTM programmes,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, after the completion of the exercise.

BRaVe is the standard application used for IOM’s biometric registration activities and beneficiary data management. Since its rollout in 2014, the system currently supports humanitarian operations in South Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and the Philippines.

By late 2019, IOM and WFP plan to have exchanged data for more than 700,000 people across the country.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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