UK Department for International Development: Improving data systems in emergencies
Learn about our research and recommendations to strengthen data systems for improved cash transfer programming during emergencies in Somalia.
- What we do
- Consultancy services
- UK Department for International Development: Improving data systems in emergencies
We were commissioned by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to produce research and recommendations on the registering and identification of people receiving assistance through cash transfer programmes (CTPs) during emergencies in Somalia.
Humanitarian agencies working in emergency situations collect, analyse, apply and share identification and registration data on affected communities in order to meet distinct objectives. They do this in various ways, using multiple systems and approaches. As a result, these organisations often face challenges related to verifying identity, protecting personal data, coordination, information sharing and duplication of data. This can lead to inconsistencies that affect programme implementation and efficiency. Such challenges are often experienced in CTPs, which are increasingly used as a transformative tool to address humanitarian needs in Somalia.
DFID commissioned us to research the registration and identification of people receiving assistance through CTPs during emergencies in Somalia. The study, Harmonising registrations and identification in emergencies in Somalia, assessed and recommended options for streamlining and harmonising registration of CTP beneficiaries. The findings and evidence gathered in the report inform efforts to better coordinate and improve the efficiency of CTPs. The aim was to minimise issues of data duplication and increase the timeliness and quality of humanitarian response in Somalia.
What we delivered
We examined how humanitarian agencies in emergency situations in Somalia collect, analyse and share recipients’ identification and registration data in CTPs. We assessed existing standards, systems and guidelines, as well as opportunities for harmonising data systems and potential implications. Our research applied a mixed methods approach that involved primary and secondary research, and qualitative and quantitative data, to ensure reliable findings. The study interrogated how streamlining beneficiary identification/registration will impact gender dynamics and investigated disability and age as cross-cutting dimensions.
The project was led by our Africa-based team who hold expertise in humanitarian research and information management systems, as well as analysing and developing social protection programmes. The team has a strong understanding of data-users’ needs and barriers to data use, as well as data strategies and architecture, including interoperability issues.
Our study and outreach brought together a wide range of actors, including international humanitarian organisations and UN agencies that implement CTPs in Somalia. These actors engaged in evidence-based discussions on the current state of CTPs, with a focus on harmonising registration and identification in Somalia to identify areas for improvement. The Somali Cash Consortium, for example, plan to use our study to push for the establishment of a basic integrated beneficiary registry – a recommendation proposed in the study to prevent the duplication of data.