Please see the guidance notes for information management considerations.
As advancements in the field are made, tools, examples and links will be added here.
1.1 Overview and Function
Population statistics provide the basis for efficient and accurate emergency response, and are one of the most important data elements in an emergency. Reporting these figures in a systematic and standardized manner throughout an emergency is a priority.
From the onset of an emergency, the process of harmonizing population figures will be a continuous effort requiring a collaborative approach among all stakeholders. It is essential for the integrity and credibility of an emergency response that partners use the same figures, to the extent possible.
1.2 How-to Guide
1.2.1 Conduct a desk review, consolidating baseline population data
When a recent (less than two years) and reliable census data is available, consult the national bureau of statistics of the concerned country for baseline population data. Census data provides a detailed disaggregation of the population by administrative area/locality and according to specific categories – for example, the average number of children per woman or the average household size in a specific administrative area.
Such data may be used to estimate populations in affected areas when only an estimate of the number of families or households is available. Thus, this provides valuable baseline data both for the sampling process in household surveys and for the design and planning of registration activities.
When recent census data is lacking, data on the number of households or average household size and related statistics in a given region can be gathered through the following:
- Government administrative records from the country of origin, which may be indicative of the overall size of the population to be assisted (for example, land parcel data used for taxation and land tenure purposes; utility data collected for billing purposes; and information on community health, water and food consumption, education, electricity and phone statistics).
- Household- or community-level surveys: These include the ENA conducted by UNHCR, the Emergency Food Security Assessment conducted by the WFP or surveys conducted by more specialized agencies or partners such as the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), the International Household Survey Network (IHSN), the Living Standards Measurement Surveys (LSMS) or assessments and surveys conducted after an emergency.
- Projection or forecasting methods and tools that update census data and estimate current populations: Redatam, online population calculators, official United Nations demographic estimates and projections, the United Nations Statistics Division, the International Data Base of the United States Census Bureau (IDB), and the World Gazetteer.
- Online global spatial databases: the common operational datasets (CODs), the Population Estimation Service, and the Fews Net Population Explorer.
- The humanitarian profile: This is the numbers and categories of the populations assessed to be affected by a disaster or crisis; the humanitarian profile should eventually contain basic information on demographics (i.e. sex, age, location). Define the humanitarian profile to classify groups of interest and to disaggregate data per affected group: how many refugees in camps, how many in host populations, how many affected residents, etc. The structure, population and maintenance of this humanitarian profile will be of crucial importance. One affected person should not be counted twice, and therefore may not fall into several of the identified categories (e.g. an affected resident may also be hosting displaced persons). Therefore, it is necessary to create levels of hierarchy where all categories on the same level add up to their “parent” in the next higher level in the structure, and where each category in a specific level is mutually exclusive of all others (see Figure 1 for an example of such a “hierarchy tree”). In this way, the sum of categories in a specific level equals the total number of people affected.
Figure 1: Example of Hierarchy Tree
- Provide metadata: This should include date of the collected data, current location of the population being reported (use codes if available), sex and age categories, place of origin, nationality, number of persons, method and source.
Note: Additional information on the above tools has been included in this section of the Toolkit, under 3.C Reference Documents and Links.
1.2.2 Harmonization of figures
The Information Manager will need to set and adhere to a known statistical format and frequency of reporting. Define roles and responsibilities for reporting population figures at the onset of an emergency. Work in a collaborative and respectful manner with NGOs, the Government and other sources of population figures. Ensure the proper clearance of figures with the relevant host Government authorities, and share such figures predictably and responsibly with the inter-agency community, through the RIM WG. Refer to the Information/Data Management Strategy (Section 4) of this Toolkit for additional information on the RIM WG.
The Information Manager should set up the RIM WG with partners who have population data, if possible, and with the participation of a concerned Government counterpart. The RIM WG, which should at minimum consist of UNHCR and the Government, needs to ensure coordinated reporting on affected population figures throughout the emergency.
The Information Manager will present population figures to the RIM WG, which should agree on the affected population figures to be reported, the sources of information to be used, and reporting frequency and units (such as demographic and location information, and types of categories to be used for reporting figures), use the UNHCR Population Reporting Template, included in the annexes of this section. The Information Manager will need to invest the required effort to obtain agreement on the sources for figures and the methodologies for updating the figures as early as possible.
1.2.3 Reporting figures: Level of disaggregation
Depending on the context (type of emergency, information available prior to crisis, number of actors on the ground, etc.), the level of disaggregation of figures may change from the highest level (information for only the overall affected population) to the lowest (information at the individual level). The Information Manager will need to report on the lowest level of disaggregation available and triangulate population figures for each location.
Initial population figures may come from a variety of sources, including estimates from Government sources, WFP food distribution lists and NGOs that have undertaken rapid needs assessments. The sources of and methodologies used for gathering population figures are relevant to understanding the quality of the population statistics, and should be included along with the statistical reports.
The most common population data collection methodologies used for reporting on population figures are the following:
- Rough estimates;
- Estimates based on Government census data (of country of origin);
- Estimates based on aerial photographs;
- Estimates based on dwelling counts;
- Population movement tracking reports;
- Name lists (from communal leaders, partners working with the population, etc.); and
- Individual or household registration.
If a combination of several methodologies is used, these figures should be reported separately using the population reporting template, whenever possible. When a figure is a combination of a registration result and an estimate, the overall figure is considered an estimate, regardless of the degree to which the registration may have been completed (i.e. 90 per cent registered + 10 per cent estimated = estimated population figure).
The reliability of population data sources will remain dependent on who collected the information, how it was collected, and when and where it was collected. For instance, does the population data stand in contrast to other known data or facts about the population? Can the data be verified? Is it clear where the data came from and is it properly referenced and cited (who, when, how collected)? It is also important to consider why the data may have been cited, inflated or otherwise incorrectly (or incompletely) presented.
1.2.5 Source and date
Population data is often collected from a number of overlapping sources at various points in time. In many cases, the strength and validity of population statistics depend on when and from where the data was collected, both of which should be clearly cited in the population reporting template.
1.2.6 Reporting time frame
Population figures must track new arrivals, departures, births and deaths in order to ensure the population statistics remain accurate and also reflect the continuous registration as required in an emergency. Population statistics must be shared regularly and in a predictable manner with other humanitarian actors.
The population reporting template should be updated each time validated data is received. The most up-to-date population figures should appear in all reports, internal or external. If updated population statistics were not available to be issued with a report, this should be noted in the report, along with the date for which the figures were valid. Whenever possible, the completed UNHCR Population Reporting Template (see Annex 1) should be shared along with reports.
1.2.7 Reporting and dissemination
The Information Manager or the registration officer (if available) and an alternate should be designated by the Representative to report on population statistics.
The official population statistics should go through a number of steps before being officially reported. Such data must be gathered, verified, validated, cleared (an overview of the steps for which are referenced earlier) by the UNHCR Representative and disseminated using the UNHCR population template (see Annex 1: UNHCR Population Reporting Tool).
Population statistics updates should be coordinated and shared with the RIM WG, and population figures must be regularly updated on the UNHCR web portal. Population statistics may also be updated and disseminated via hardcopies of the population reporting template and related charts and analysis, CDs, e-mail lists, or other mechanisms when Internet access is not available or not common.
Please see the guidance notes for information management considerations.
As advancements in the field are made, tools, examples and links will be added here.
REGISTRATION IN EMERGENCIES
2.1 Overview and Function
Registration of persons of concern is one of UNHCR’s primary activities at the onset of an emergency, in addition to identifying and assisting persons with specific needs (PSNs) who require targeted interventions, including protection support. Emergency registration should be conducted as soon as possible, as this forms the population baseline for the delivery of protection, targeted assistance, programming and planning, and provides for the efficient use of resources.
These guidance notes provide an overview on camp, rural and urban emergency registration procedures, including instructions on information and population data management. The steps for all refugee emergency registration scenarios are the same unless otherwise specified under specific sub-headings of these guidance notes.
This chapter should be referenced in tandem with the Registration Checklist in Refugee Emergencies (included as Annex 1 of this section).
2.2 How-to Guide: Emergency Registration Steps
2.2.1 Objectives of registration in an emergency
“Registration of refugees and asylum-seekers is, first and foremost, a key protection tool. It can help to protect refugees from refoulement and forcible recruitment. It can ensure access to basic rights and family reunification, help to identify persons in need of special assistance, and provide information crucial to finding appropriate durable solutions,” according to the UNHCR Handbook for Registration (UNHCR Geneva, Provisional Release, September 2003, pg. 5).
It is important to note that the standard registration approach in refugee emergencies has changed.
Depending on time and context, the recommended approach will now be to implement Individual Emergency Registration, a process used to collect a minimum set of data for all individuals in a household, along with a limited set of data at the household level.
Individual Emergency Registration is used to establish basic distribution lists, identify and record PSNs, and issue documentation or ration cards at the household level to facilitate the delivery of life-saving aid and services.
In the case of an organized movement to a registration site, a limited set of pre-defined Household registration data may be collected to plan and facilitate organized movement to a registration site. After which, an Individual Emergency Registration would be conducted at the registration site itself.
See Annex 1: Registration Checklist in Refugee Emergencies; subheading ‘Registration Methodology’, pgs. 6-7, for detailed instructions and data to collect, in addition to Predefined household data required to facilitate organized movement to a registration site, covered under, ‘Organized Movement’, pgs. 3-4.
2.2.2 Time frame for emergency registration
As capacity permits, individual emergency registration must be conducted within the first month of a population influx. However, as a target to aim for, emergency registration should be conducted within three to seven days of an initial influx. Since populations increase over the course of days, weeks and months, registration procedures and infrastructure should continuously support individual emergency registration (as defined in the Registration Checklist in Refugee Emergencies; included as Annex 1 with this section) throughout an emergency.
2.2.3 Shared roles and responsibilities
- UNHCR: To ensure that individuals are registered, to facilitate individual protection and the delivery of emergency assistance. UNHCR may assist the host Government’s planning, conduct registration on behalf of the host Government as required, or conduct the registration itself. The UNHCR Representative will need to hold a meeting with the host Government and key partners such as WFP, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to ensure their support and as necessary, their involvement and cooperation in registration activities. If a Government is not capable or willing to engage in an emergency registration, UNHCR may assist the Government by either planning or carrying out the registration in collaboration with the Government or on behalf of the Government. The appropriate coordination fora should be developed, depending on the context this may be (amongst others) the Protection Working Group (See the Protection Section, Section 13, of this Toolkit for additional information) the RIM WG (refer to the Information/Data Management Strategy section (Section 2) for the RIM WG terms of reference). The working group should consist of representatives of the host Government; the UNHCR Registration focal point, protection, programme and sector leads (where deployed); and key partners working with UNHCR on the overall emergency response. Within the protection working group or the RIM WG, the registration officer and the Information Manager should work together as appropriate, to ensure the regular dissemination of information on registration activities, along with population statistics and demographics.
- Host Government: Registration of asylum-seekers and refugees is a Government responsibility. If not conducting the registration directly, Government counterparts should participate in registration planning and activities, including camp managers (were available) and government security forces.
- Partners: Key partners (WFP, UNICEF, ICRC, IOM etc.) may participate in the emergency registration and the Protection Working Group or the RIM WG. UNHCR’s capacity on the ground to conduct an emergency registration will vary. Therefore, a partner capable of sharing the responsibility under the guidance of UNHCR may be identified to conduct or support the emergency registration.
- Population of concern: Must be informed and consulted about registration plans and objectives.
Resources and budget: Estimates and needs based on scope of planned registration and context of the registration to be conducted. A sample registration supply list and budget has been included in the Annexes of this section.
2.2.4 Pre-registration process
The registration officer is responsible for the design and delivery of an emergency registration plan of action, which must take into account any emergency contingency planning and will need to include the following elements.
Planning documents prepared by the registration, field coordinators and protection officers (noted below) should be endorsed by the UNHCR Representative. After endorsement but prior to the start of the emergency registration, the UNHCR Representative, with the support of the registration officer, will need to present the plan of action to the host government agreement and support.
After partners have been briefed in the Protection Working Group or the RIM WG and the emergency registration strategy is drafted, the registration, protection, community services and external relations officers will need to meet with representatives from the population of concern. During these meetings, they will need to inform them about and consult on registration activities.
After the start of emergency registration, the registration officer may use the Protection Working Group or the RIM WG meetings to discuss activities and issues surrounding registration, for which the support of partners may be required. The Protection Working Group or RIM WG, will also be useful for the regular presentation and discussion of initial baseline population and updated registration figures.
The registration officer will need to present the outcomes of registration activities and population figures to the UNHCR Representative, who in turn will present this information for final endorsement by the Government, with the support of the registration officer.
Note: Keep in mind that baseline population figures must always be triangulated with other sources of population data, the sources of which will need to be recorded and presented during the Protection Working Group or the RIM WG. For the tracking of population statistics, including recording baseline population registration data, use the Population Reporting Template included in the Population Statistics section (Section 3) of this Toolkit.
2.3 Emergency Registration Strategy
The emergency registration plan of action should include the following elements, in parallel:
- Emergency registration objectives (as pre-defined above, while taking the situational context into account);
- Background analysis and situational overview (define the population to be registered and situational considerations in the host country, identify possible constraints and gather existing population statistics, including information on who collected data and when);
- Define staffing requirements;
- Create a standardized list of place names and codes that all parties involved in the registration agree on (including standardized registration names/labels, place names, country of origin location names) before the start of registration. Once standardized, this list will need to be referenced on site during registration;
- Map current registration system (if any);
- Include a time frame and budget for required resources based on the scope of planned registration activities; and
- Refer to the ‘Registration Checklist in Refugee Emergencies’, included as Annex 1 of this section for additional guidance.
Note: A sample emergency registration strategy is included as Annex 4, in this section.
2.3.1 Border Monitoring
Border monitoring activities should capture and assess information related to registration, such as lists of formal and informal entry points, estimation of the number of arrivals per day at each entry point, means of arrival (i.e. number of cars, buses or persons on foot crossing the border or other means of estimation), patterns of arrival, intended destination, profile of the persons of concern including potential vulnerabilities (sex/age breakdown, civilian vs. armed forces, persons of concern vs. third county nationals, or other criteria relevant to the operational context). No personal data should be gathered at this stage.
2.3.2 Security and site selection
Emergency registration must be conducted only if it is safe to do so for staff and persons of concern, conforming to the following procedure.
- The Representative will need to request security officers from UN/UNSECOORD, UNHCR or Government authorities to access the proposed registration sites and develop a security plan as required.
- The Representative, with the support of the Registration Officer, will then need to discuss the nature and aim of the emergency registration with central and local authorities and with security forces, and ensure their understanding, support and, if necessary, presence at the registration site to provide security.
- The registration officer will need to select the registration site, based on considerations for location, space, waiting areas, security and crowd control, electricity, water and toilets. Consider selecting a site that, given its location and ease of access for refugees, may also be used after the emergency registration for aid distribution. When selecting the site, be sure to include any site upgrade requirements that may be needed in the registration budget.
- The registration officer will need to select the registration site, based on considerations for location, space, waiting areas, security and crowd control, electricity, and water and toilets. Consider selecting a site that, given its location and ease of access for refugees, may also be used after the emergency registration for aid distribution. When selecting the site, be sure to include any site upgrade requirements that may be needed in the registration budget.
2.3.3 Procuring supplies and registration infrastructure
Once the registration strategy, budget and supply list have been agreed upon internally by the UNHCR Representative, registration supplies and infrastructure will need to be procured and set up, respectively. To save on time and costs, basic supplies, equipment and infrastructure should be procured in the local market, to the extent possible.
A registration stockpile of specialized registration supplies for over 500,000 individuals is maintained at UNHCR HQ in Geneva, which can be used for emergency registration needs. Refer to the Registration Stockpile Supply List, included in the annexes of this section. Normally, the material can be released and shipped from the stockpile within a day, but the shipment may take more time depending on the destination, customs procedures, etc. See Annexes 16-17 for UNHCR registration stockpile procedures and order forms.
2.3.4 Preparation of data sets and forms
If not already in place, an electronic registration database will need to be set up and functioning at the UNHCR office. The use of standardized UNHCR registration categories and codes must be ensured throughout the registration and beyond, a list of the UNHCR standard registration codes has been included in the annexes. Standard registration forms are recommended for use and included with these guidance notes.
Note: UNHCR data-entry formats, such as dates of birth and specific needs categories, should not be amended.
2.3.5 Hiring staff and training
As much as possible, try to use partner staff who have worked with UNHCR in various capacities and who should be familiar with UNHCR protection principles, including working with vulnerable persons. A session on the UNHCR Code of Conduct will need to be conducted by the registration and protection officers prior to the start of registration (UNHCR Handbook for Registration, pgs. 121-122). Training will also need to be provided by the registration officer, to cover the various roles and responsibilities within the registration process (UNHCR Handbook for Registration, pgs. 68, 120).
Note: Annex 10, Staff Training: Household Level Process Flow Illustration may be useful for staff training in order to illustrate the physical movement of refugees through the registration process. See also, Annex 11, Staff Training: Interviewer Introductory Registration Statement, which may be read by staff to a refugee household before commencing the registration process (and also annexed to the operations Registration SOP’s). The ‘Attendance and Payment’ form included as Annex 12, may be used to track staff attendance and calculate payroll.
2.3.6 Information campaign
Prior to the start of registration, a thorough information campaign, undertaken collaboratively by the registration, protection and external relations officers, will need to be conducted. This process should explain the reasons for registration, the locations of the registration and the desired outcomes of the registration activities. The Government, operational and partner staff will also need to be briefed on key registration messages.
The information campaign should include detailed information on the following:
- Purpose of the registration;
- Location of registration;
- Confidentiality and sharing of data gathered;
- Basic steps for registration;
- Specific procedures for PSNs;
- Registration opening hours and interview scheduling;
- Pre-conditions for being registered;
- Procedures for requesting a registration appointment and information on scheduling;
- Procedures for newborns, absentees and others;
- Procedures for reporting misconduct by staff and other difficulties in assessing the UNHCR office or registration premises;
- Include and explain the link between registration and protection to address fears and concerns. For example: “Explain to the community how the registration system is intended to ensure that each individual and each household will have an accurate and lasting record, a means of identifying themselves, and a full and equitable share of benefits” (From UNHCR Handbook for Registration, pg. 87); and
- Ensure a mechanism exists to respond to questions from persons of concern- including before, during and after the registration process.
Note: For additional details on each of the above steps, refer to the, UNHCR Handbook for Registration, pgs. 131-135.
There are many types of information campaign techniques to consider – SMS messaging, the use of local radio stations, poster campaigns, information leaflets, using the Internet, etc. However, keep in mind that in the context of an emergency, verbally informing community leaders of key registration-related messages will likely be the most effective approach. Ensure messages are adapted or relayed in a manner that persons with specific needs have access to them. See, ‘Sample Information Campaign Fliers’, Annex 7 for an example.
The below chart illustrates possible information campaign approaches depending on the operational context.
- in person
- through community leaders
Map the locations/villages where refugees are settled. Allocate each to a mobile registration team, who will then conduct scheduling:
- in person
- through community leaders
- by registration number if any
- by section (block, zone, etc.)
- by place of origin/community
- by family size
Additionally, in an urban emergency registration context, conducting an information campaign over local radio stations will be particularly important for mass communication. Consider setting up a telephone hotline where registration information is pre-recorded for playback, and where individuals can be assigned registration slots. Also, meet with community leaders and inform them of the registration, and leave posters and leaflets in key locations where persons of concern have congregated.
2.3.7 Fixing and scheduling interviews
“Fixing” a population is when only persons of concern are provided with a UNHCR token or wristband (one to each individual to be registered at the household level in an emergency) or by marking individuals’ fingertips with invisible ink. Fixing a population works to ensure that only persons of concern are registered.
However, it will not always be possible to fix the population before beginning the registration. In camps, fixing can be conducted through the use of wristbands, fixing tokens or invisible/indelible ink (examples of fixing tokens have been included in the annexes of this section). The wristbands are then removed or fixing tokens collected during the registration, and/or hands marked with ink once registration is completed (double check whether individuals have been previously marked with invisible ink, in order to prevent double registration) (see annexes 21- 24 for related templates and tracking tools).
Tracking fixing tokens will help to ensure the integrity of the eventual registration process, and will assist UNHCR in maintaining current statistics on the population of concern, see Annexes 21 and 23 for templates for tracking and printing tokens. When scheduling interviews, divide the populations into smaller groups based on residential locations/addresses, token numbers, etc. (see Annexes 21 and 22 for related templates).
Although for a number of reasons biometrics (fingerprinting, iris scanning, etc.) are not yet systematically used for emergency registration, UNHCR is increasingly looking towards using this approach as a standard component of emergency registration. The UNHCR registration section in HQ may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information regarding the use of biometrics in emergency registration.
In an urban emergency registration, fixing may not be required or may not always be possible. When considering a scheduling system, first take into account the projected time frame for emergency registration as noted in the registration plan of action. Break down the city by district or by GIS-gridded location while leaving more time for areas believed to have higher densities of persons of concern. Using GIS to grid a location is covered in the Mapping section of this Toolkit under Annex 5: UNHCR Addressing Guidance. Also, develop a schedule list in a spreadsheet, which can be populated by collecting names by call-in, etc.
2.3.8 Organized movement(s)
In certain urban, camp or informal settlement contexts, the Office may provide transportation to assist new arrivals to reach their destination for registration. Movement support mitigates security risks (i.e. check point delays) and facilitates access to registration. In a grouped settlement context, transportation is usually organized from the border to transit centres and/or to the settlements themselves. The following actions should be considered:
- Information campaign: define and communicate how and when families can access organized movements (including schedules). Use leaflets, public announcements, meetings with community leaders, health and social workers and partners, and mass gatherings to widely disseminate information. Ensure that meetings are organised to address fears and concerns, allowing adequate time to answer questions. Coordinate the movement schedule with the established registration schedule at the registration location (see Reception and Registration Facilities below). Always identify and give priority boarding to persons with apparent Specific Needs.
- Crowd control: if necessary, erect simple fencing and/or controlled barriers to reduce crowd pressure and facilitate boarding procedures. Arrange support from security personnel if required. Liaise and seek advice from security focal points.
- Coordination and logistics: Ensure all stakeholders are involved and informed about movement activities (Government authorities, partners, and reception facility etc.). Liaise with supply or logistical focal points to ensure transport arrangements are in place (hiring of buses, trucks, etc.).
- Data set: if transport manifests are required to facilitate movement, determine the minimum data set (and/or token numbers?) of the household level registration for proper movement planning, including boarding process (see the ‘Relocation Pre-Manifest’ included as Annex 26 of this section).
- Data Management and information sharing: upon departure of the vehicles or convoys, and prior to their arrival at the reception/transit/arrival point, inform colleagues at the destination point of the number of households, sex/age breakdown and those households identified as having members with specific needs, if possible by e-mailing a copy of the control sheet / manifest. A copy of the manifest should also travel with the staff member accompanying the convoy.
2.3.9 Access and verification
If it is unclear whether a person presenting him- or herself for emergency registration should be registered, grant that individual access to registration procedures and refer them to protection colleagues.
Depending on the context, any of the following screening techniques may be used by UNHCR protection staff to establish whether a person presenting him- or herself should be registered:
- Establish a set of targeted questions about the country of origin: History, geography, customs and other features that only a native would know (update regularly depending on the length of the registration exercise).
- Visual clues: Clothes and body language may provide initial indications, but should not be the sole determinant.
- Language differences: To the extent possible, registration and verification teams should include people who may identify country or area of origin through differences in language.
- Knowledge of locations and conditions in country of origin: Interviews should include questions to verify knowledge of the stated area of origin. Resource persons with knowledge of those areas should be consulted, and maps and lists of events should be gathered by the team to facilitate cross-checking.
- Assistance from the refugee population: The population of concern will normally cooperate in identifying verification techniques, such as knowing specific geographic and linguistic details, and should be consulted.
2.3.10 Referral mechanisms
As protection objective of registration, the recording and tracking of persons with specific needs will also need to be built into the emergency registration process.
Individuals with special needs are “prioritized” for registration, meaning they are physically moved to the front of the registration list or line. Additional identifying information/details that will result in the further targeting of assistance are also collected for prioritized individuals.
Examples of persons to be prioritized for emergency registration include:
- Unaccompanied and separated children (a Standard Referral and Registration Form for Unaccompanied or Separated Children, has been included in the annex of this section);
- Child-headed households;
- Single parents with small children;
- Elderly persons, particularly unaccompanied ones;
- Persons with disabilities and their families;
- Persons with specific protection concerns and their families;
- Single women in certain circumstances; and
- Persons with specific medical needs.
A full list of persons to be prioritized for registration, including standard UNHCR codes has been included as an annex in this section. Given time or staffing constraints, the collection of data surrounding only certain specific needs may be prioritized during an emergency registration, based on agreement reached internally in the office (see Annex 30 and 31 for sample templates which may be used for this purpose during registration).
The protection officer will need to provide training to all registration staff on identifying and working with persons with specific needs, prior to the start of registration.
2.3.11 Data elements to collect and data entry
Data elements to collect will be as specified in the standard UNHCR registration forms included as annexes within these guidance notes (Sample Control Sheet: Automated and Manual, Sample Counting Form, Sample Registration Site Layout Form). Data will be handwritten on the standard registration form and may be entered electronically at the registration site, with data later uploaded into the registration database at the UNHCR office. The physical registration record will also need to be filled out and maintained at the UNHCR office.
Adding extra questions or fields to the UNHCR registration form is generally discouraged, unless extra questions or fields serve to collect information that may be linked to lifesaving emergency response, such as, “Who within your family is trained as a community health worker” (if Yes, give name) or “Has everyone in your family received a measles vaccination?” (Yes or No).
For both an urban and rural population, ensure that at least one or more telephone numbers is collected for each family, and possibly an e-mail address, so that UNHCR has the ability to locate the family in the future.
2.3.12 Issuing documents and producing distribution lists
During the registration, each household will be issued a ration card, which will allow the household to receive assistance. The ration card number will be recorded in the registration database and/or on the registration form. For guidance on the standard use of the Ration Card refer to the Registration Checklist in Refugee Emergencies and the stockpile guidelines.
2.3.13 Population data agreement and management
With the support of the registration officer, the Representative should present the results of the registration to the host Government for official endorsement. Registration figures will also be shared with the management of partner organizations that have participated in the emergency registration.
In the Protection Working Group or RIM WG, agreement will need to be reached on the type and frequency of distribution lists as well as population demographic breakdowns to be produced by the registration unit as required. (Do not include individually identifiable information in these lists, unless the partner has signed a confidentiality agreement and as directed by the protection officer.) If a partner collects the data, individuals will not be officially registered until UNHCR and the host Government accepts the data, according to the UNHCR Handbook for Registration (pg. 36).
Once this process is completed and agreed at all levels, the registration officer and the Information Manager should work together to ensure that population baseline figures and, later, updates to population figures (as a result of ongoing registration, i.e. new arrivals, departures, births and deaths) are disseminated to partners through standard information management and coordination structures outlined throughout these guidance notes.
The registration officer should regularly provide a prioritized list based on vulnerability broken down by age, sex and camp/settlement. As discussed and agreed with the protection officer, this type of list will need to be produced on a regular basis for targeted protection interventions and ongoing protection and programme analysis, and should be provided to partners and concerned colleagues. Deciding on what type and level of registration information to share outside of UNHCR must be carefully considered by senior managers and agreed to by the Representative.
2.3.14 Continuous updating of records
After the completion of the initial registration, UNHCR Registration and Information Management staff will need to ensure that procedures are in place to continuously update registration records, and to share them systematically with partners. Recommended approaches to continuously updating registration records include the following:
- Flag households that have missed distribution(s), and ascertain whether households should remain active or not after 2 or 3 consecutive distribution(s).
- Put in place continuous registration mechanisms in order to register newly arrived refugees and newborns. For newborns registration, it is advised to liaise with medical partners and put in place procedures for issuance of birth notifications: this may have the double objective of increasing the number of children born in the medical facilities and prevent possible multiple registration (mark the birth notification once the new born has been registered).
- As a possible verification technique, UNHCR and partners may conduct spot checks in camps/homes, etc. to confirm the presence of registered refugees. In this regard the existence of a functioning camp address system will be important.
- Revised population figures, with necessary demographic breakdowns, are distributed regularly, and updated at minimum on a weekly basis.
Note: An updated version of the Handbook for Registration is anticipated in 2015.
Please see the guidance notes for information management considerations.
As advancements in the field are made, tools, examples and links will be added here.
RAPID POPULATION ESTIMATION METHODS
3.1 Overview and Function
Timely, accurate and reliable information on the numbers and locations of people affected by a crisis is crucial for an effective and efficient humanitarian response. Population numbers or estimates, including a reflection of global numbers and an ethnic, gender and age breakdown, are clearly important for a range of humanitarian assistance activities including programme planning, protection, fundraising and advocacy.
3.2 How-to Guide: Preparation
3.2.1 Conduct interviews (face-to-face or by phone, Internet, radio, SMS, etc.) with key informants
Estimates from district or village authorities and community leaders in the area, service providers, Red Cross/Red Crescent workers, NGOs, religious leaders, and education or health staff may be important sources of information on population figures, family composition, household size, settlement patterns, and arrival and departure rates. Any other credible first-hand information (e.g. aerial views or any sort of observation) may also be used.
3.2.2 Reconcile estimates: Secondary data and key field informants
In many cases, there will be little data available or time will be limited. Statistical methods may be inappropriate (they may be too costly, time consuming, require considerable expertise, or results may be difficult to interpret). In addition, differing perspectives, terminologies, frames of reference and working approaches exist, which may hinder effective comparison.
In such scenarios, a Delphi exercise may be considered. The Delphi method brings together a group of experts to reach a consensual opinion about a situation, such as the numbers and locations of people affected by a crisis. It is recommended to have about 15 to 20 experts on a Delphi panel with combined knowledge and expertise. Panellists should be well informed on the topic at hand, and should have experience with predicting population movement patterns and numbers. The panel may include decision-makers, demographers, behavioural scientists, emergency responders, nutritionists or people with knowledge of the affected area. It may also include researchers and key informants at the regional, national or provincial level who know the culture and behaviour of the affected people.
A prerequisite for a Delphi exercise is that an appropriate number of experts are available and that they all come with their data, which is to be discussed and finally agreed. The discussion focuses on agreeing on location specific figures for each site, after which such figures can be added up to arrive at a total.
3.2.3 Identify information gaps and next level of details, methods, techniques and resources required
Once the review has been completed and the data stored in a database, decisions may be taken on where, when and how to conduct a more comprehensive population estimation, focusing mainly on information gap areas. This will narrow the scope of further data collection and save time as well as financial and human resources.
New or more specific data collection exercises are generally conducted to gain access either to data that does not yet exist or to more detailed, accurate or updated figures. In a refugee emergency, this could mean moving towards an emergency registration. As a registration exercise may be impeded by factors such as access, time and resources available, the next section will elaborate on alternative methods to obtain population figures in an emergency situation.
3.3 Population Estimation Methods
Every emergency situation is different, with varying factors that will influence the choice of a population estimation method. This could include, for example, the time frame available to conduct the estimation (hours, days or weeks), the location size (site or large area) or the characteristics of the population (stable of continuing to move). Combining several techniques will produce more reliable results, depending on the context, resources (number of staff, expertise, finances) or which population groups are being numerically estimated.
The population estimation methods described in the next section are recommended both for scenarios that do and do not require field and/or affected population access.
3.3.1 Methods and techniques requiring field and/or affected population access
Field access and few hours available
- For sites with available resources: flow monitoring, mobile crowd estimations;
- For sites with limited resources: visual habitation count, static crowd estimation method, drive through or walk through, transect walk, community estimates;
- For large areas with available resources: flow monitoring; and
- For large areas with limited resources: authorities estimates.
Field access and few days available
- For sites with available resources: flow monitoring, mobile crowd estimations, enumeration, stratified or random sampling, cluster sampling, two-stage cluster method, quadrat method, T-square method, spatial interpolation method, focus group discussion, counting the number of under fives;
- For camp setting with available resources: habitation count method, quadrat method, registration exercise;
- For sites with limited resources: community estimates, participatory mapping, drive through or walk through, transect walk and transect sampling, visual habitation count method; and
- For large areas with available resources: flow monitoring, key informants, initial reports/D-forms, Delphi method.
Field access and few weeks available
- For sites with available resources: flow monitoring, enumeration, registration, head counts, capture-recapture, network scale-up, household surveys, results of an immunization coverage survey, focus group discussions; and
- For large area with available resources: flow monitoring, stratified or random sample or a (modified) cluster sampling, two-stage cluster method, quadrat method, T-square method, spatial interpolation method, sample surveys, census, registration, enumeration.
3.3.2 Methods and techniques not requiring field and/or affected population access
No field access and few hours available
- For sites with available resources: l-level aerial photography and survey, mobile phone network data;
- For sites with limited resources: key informants, aerial survey, initial reports / D-forms;
- For large area with available resources: satellite imagery, low-level aerial survey, night-time lights, mobile phone network data; and
- For large area with limited resources: initial reports / D-forms, key informant interviews, Delphi exercise.
No field access and few days available
- For sites with available resources: low-level aerial surveys, mobile phone network data, satellite imagery;
- For sites with limited resources: key informants, first-hand information from aerial survey, initial reports / D-forms;
- For large area with available resources: satellite imagery, low-level aerial photography and mobile phone network data; satellite imagery, night-time lights or low-level aerial survey; aerial survey, initial reports / D-forms, satellite imagery); and
- For large area with limited resources: initial reports / D-forms, Delphi exercise
No field access and few weeks available
- For sites and large areas with limited resources: Delphi method.
As advancements in the field are made, tools, examples and links will be added here.
INFORMATION / DATA MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
4.1 Overview and Function
The information management strategy should be drafted and maintained by the Information Management Officer (IMO), preferably, or the Information Manager. The IMO is a specialised technical position within UNHCR. Staff filling IMO positions will need to be those with both the requisite training and the experience required to undertake information management activities, particularly the coordination, design and management of an information management strategy to support operational objectives and partners. Information management focal points may be other staff designated to cover specific information management needs within an operation.
An information/data management strategy is a plan that defines the purposes, outputs, time frames and responsibilities for all operational information systems in an emergency. An Information Management Strategy Template is included as Annex 4 in this section. The information/data management strategy will provide a broad overview of how information systems relate to one another and which organizations are stakeholders in which systems, allowing the Information Manager to better coordinate information. The strategy will also help identify whether there are information gaps or redundancies between systems.
From a consensus-building perspective, the strategy provides an opportunity for managers and operational staff to agree on reporting frequencies and data ownership. On a practical level, the strategy details how the information systems will operate. It is also a starting point for budgeting for information management costs, such as for implementing partner agreements, data-entry staff, mobile data-collection devices and laptops.
Explicitly defining and implementing an information management strategy will help make information management product delivery more predictable and more reliable. Doing so will also support the introduction of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for information/data management. The following guidance details the steps for defining and implementing an information and data management strategy during the first six weeks of a refugee emergency.
4.2 How-to Guide: Steps for Undertaking/Coordinating Information and Data Management Strategy
In order to develop an information/data management strategy, an Information Manager needs to answer the following questions:
- What are the information gaps?
- What types of analysis products are needed?
- Who are the focal points responsible for implementing each system?
- What methods should be used to obtain the data?
- What human resources are required to run the systems?
- What is the frequency of reporting from each system?
- When should each system be implemented?
4.2.1 Considerations for the Information Manager during planning
During planning, the Information Manager will need to consider some of the following factors, which will affect the design of the information management systems:
- The operation’s contingency plans: What is the most likely scenario for how the emergency will evolve? How might the information systems need to change in the future?
- The operation’s programming and intervention plans: Which sectors are the most active and/or are most likely to be? Are there some sectors with more information management needs?
- The displacement pattern: Is the population moving en masse or is there scattered population movement? Is there secondary displacement? Is the population stable or is there new movement? What is the scale of the displacement?
- Physical access to populations of concern: Is remote monitoring required? How will the logistics of data collection affect the types of information systems deployed and the frequency of availability of information products?
- Security issues, humanitarian space and the Government’s position with regards to IM: Are there particular types of data that are difficult to get from populations due to security? What are the limitations of the types of information that can be disseminated?
- The IM activities of other partners: Which data management activities should be undertaken by UNHCR? By its implementing partners, operational partners, by the Government – or jointly?
- The availability of Internet connectivity and other communications/computing technology: Are website and e-mail dissemination systems the best for the situation? Is there a need for sharing burned DVDs and hardcopies of information with partners who have no Internet access? How will data from deep field locations be transmitted to the operational hub?
4.3 Refugee Emergency: Weeks One–Two
4.3.1 Set IM objectives and reporting lines: Set up and produce initial IM products
Before drafting the information management strategy, the Information Manager will need to discuss IM objectives and products with the Representative and senior managers, and with programme, protection and sector leads. Discuss what type of information decision-makers in the office need to know, at what level of detail, and why the information is needed. It will also be important to set up a regular and clearly communicated weekly dissemination schedule, so colleagues and partners know what type of information products to expect and when to expect them.
The Information Manager, Representative and senior managers will establish a plan for preparing the following standard IM products, which may be produced during the first four weeks of a refugee emergency:
- IM strategy;
- Including IM in coordination meetings or establishing IM coordination meetings;
- Secondary data review of information already available from other sources and situational analysis;
- Initial rapid population estimates;
- Contact list of operational partners;
- An initial needs assessment report;
- Maps, including security, situation and 3W maps; and
- Web portal deployment.
The Representative and other senior managers, emergency team leader (if deployed), sector leads and the Information Manager will need to agree on clearance procedures and a dissemination schedule for the aforementioned IM products. The Information Manager should also assist as needed with the development of IM strategies for the production of sector-specific reports, a process that includes the dissemination of sector-specific information products.
In order to do the above, the Information Manager should undertake each of the following upon arrival in the emergency:
- Ask to see the operation’s contingency plan, or, if one does not exist, ask management what the most likely scenarios are for the evolution of the emergency.
- Ask colleagues if any information management preparedness activities have been undertaken, such as planning a needs assessment.
- Find the standard geographic data being used by the humanitarian community and learn the process for updating this. (If no process is defined, the Information Manager will need to do this.)
- By discussing with the protection officer, become familiar with the operational context’s protection risks and constraints, in order to gain an understanding of which types of information are the most sensitive.
- Try to find pre-emergency baseline data, including data from the country’s annual statistical report, the UNHCR Global Focus website (the agency’s global reporting website for donors), the Government statistical office, development actors, etc.
- Identify UNHCR and partner staff who are capable of assisting with data collection and analysis, as the skill levels of colleagues will influence the complexity of information systems implemented. Design an information management strategy that is realistic and sustainable in terms of operational capacity.
- Determine SOPs for clearances and issuance of IM products.
4.3.2 Include IM in coordination meetings
With the agreement of the Representative, the Information Manager will need to ensure that IM is included as an agenda point at all inter-agency coordination meetings at the field and capital levels as a topic of discussion.
The Information Manager should immediately begin attending inter-agency coordination meetings and begin reaching out to partners, using the opportunities to establish contact lists that will be circulated in meetings and posted on the UNHCR web portal. To such meetings, the Information Manager should always bring information products, population figures, maps and contact lists to share, in part to create linkages with partners to identify emergency information needs.
4.3.3 Establish a contact list and weekly meeting schedule
The Information Manager should also immediately start work with a UNHCR admin colleague, as designated by the Representative, to create and track a contact list of all operational partners, which may be circulated to partners. The Information Manager will be the focal point for all changes on and custodian of the contact list, unless otherwise delegated. If available, it is good practice to keep a copy of the contact list on a shared drive, to allow access to all UNHCR staff. The Information Manager should always keep a backup copy of the master contact list, saved each day on his/her personal drive.
Specific contact lists may also be extracted from the master contact list and presented to partners in different ways. For example, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector contact list includes only staff members in that sector, and thus can serve dual functions as a sign-in sheet for coordination meetings. This not only allows colleagues to ensure that their contact information is correct, but also reduces data-entry time for the tracking of meeting attendance.
Another useful tool to produce and distribute to all partners is a contact list of technical experts – for example, a list of UNHCR protection and programme colleagues, in addition to sector leads for WASH, health and shelter. A sample template of a contact list is included in this section as Annex 4: IM Strategy Template; tab 2: E-mail Dissemination List. A contact list by sector may be produced by filtering the master contact list by activity.
4.3.4 Secondary data and situational analysis
Within the first two days of arrival in a refugee emergency, the Information Manager should meet with the protection officer and begin both to jointly analyze secondary data and to collaboratively produce a situational analysis.
“The situation analysis is undertaken through a desk review of existing information, including data gathered about the population. It also involves identifying the different stakeholders to learn about their interests and priorities, and mapping their activities, resources and expertise, ” according to A Community Based Approach in UNHCR (First Edition, UNHCR Geneva, February 2007, pg. 27).
When compiling the situational analysis, it will be important to identify what types of camp administration (if any) have been set up by the refugee community, while also noting refugee coping mechanisms at the camp level. The situational analysis will also need to detail the host Government’s involvement and response to the refugee situation, and track developments in terms of camp coordination and host Government assistance.
According to the UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies (Third Edition, UNHCR Geneva, February 2007, pg. 28), the UNHCR Protection Gaps Framework of Analysis Tool may be adapted for emergency situation analysis. The Protection Gaps Framework of Analysis Tool is available online at www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/430328-b04.pdf, and provides a format outlining key considerations when conducting a situation analysis.
4.3.5 Analyze emergency registration and population statistics
Another key step for the Information Manager in setting up an information and data management strategy is to begin working with the registration officer to compile and triangulate population figures. A Population Reporting Template should be completed and maintained for the triangulation/analysis of population figures, and is included in the Population Statistics section of this Toolkit.
- If the emergency registration has been conducted, the Information Manager will need to begin compiling cross-sectoral analysis based on population figures, including what is known in terms of operational coverage for specific locations based on information compiled in the 3W and survey of surveys.
- If the emergency registration has not been conducted, reference the Registration in Emergencies section (Section 2) of this Toolkit on the next steps for emergency registration and IM considerations.
- If emergency registration is not possible for all areas, use rapid population estimation techniques (refer to Section 3 of this Toolkit).
The Information Manager must also work with other information specialists within the operation, both those employed by UNHCR and those employed by other organizations, to ensure that all data collected, analyzed and released is as per UNHCR standard age and sex demographics.
Age and sex breakdowns should be incorporated into all standard IM products, and demographic profiles of the refugee population should be shared with partners by the Information Manager on a daily or weekly basis (depending on the situation), via the UNHCR web portal and through other dissemination avenues.
4.3.6 Who’s Doing What, Where (3W)
The Information Manager will need to continuously engage sector leads and new organizations and partners on the ground. Throughout their assignment, the Information Manager should also establish and track evolving 3W information, using the 3W tool included in the 3W section of this Toolkit, in order to maintain an understanding of operational coverage and emergency needs.
4.4 Refugee Emergency: Weeks Three–Four
4.4.1 Conduct a survey of surveys
An important step in coordinating information management is to compile a survey of surveys and assessments that have already been carried out by UNHCR and partners. UNHCR management, programme and protection colleagues will be able to readily identify partners and contacts for the Information Manager to begin contacting for the compilation of the survey of surveys. Required for completing the survey of surveys template (included as annex in this section) will be information on the organization involved in the assessment, assessment type and name, location of assessment, fieldwork collection start and end dates, and type of population assessed.
Official UNHCR population types are as follows: refugee, persons in refugee-like situations, returned refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons, persons in IDP-like situations, returned IDPs, stateless persons and others of concern. For a complete definition of these population types, see the UNHCR 2012 Annual Statistical Reporting Guidelines (pg. 37), available online at: http://www.unhcr.org/4fd6f87f9.html.
As soon as all major partners have been contacted and an inventory of surveys and assessments has been compiled, the Information Manager will need to begin an initial analysis to identify information/knowledge gaps. These may concern population groups not assessed, locations with difficult access or sectors not covered in some locations. In addition to identifying information gaps, the Information Manager will also need to report whether particular geographical or sectoral areas are being over-assessed by multiple organizations. This process is done in coordination with partners (NGOs, UN agencies, Government offices and so on) so that the resulting outcome is shared and owned by all partners.
Should an emergency needs assessment (ENA) be recommended by the Information Manager based on analysis of the survey of surveys, this topic should be discussed in plenary at the next coordination meeting with partners. For guidance on undertaking and leading an ENA, reference the Emergency Needs Assessment section (Section 6) of this Toolkit.
4.4.2 Refugee Information Management Working Group (RIM WG)
The RIM WG is one element of the IM services that UNHCR provides its partners in refugee operations. With the participation of IM focal points outside of UNHCR, the Information Manager will set up and lead the RIM WG. Although many partner organizations will not have a staff member responsible specifically for information management, each partner organization should be asked to provide at least one focal point to participate in the RIM WG. The RIM WG terms of reference (TORs) are included as an annex in this section.
The RIM WG will coordinate IM activities at the inter-agency level between partners in refugee operations. This coordination is important to ensure the cross-analysis and harmonization of data between organizations, to prevent duplicate or competing data systems from being developed, to enable the sharing of information and to make the best use of humanitarian information management resources. The Information Manager should conduct a mapping of available resources at the operational hub and capital levels, including information on which organizations have datasets and monitoring systems in place already, and which organizations have in-house data collectors, database administrators, translators and data analysts who can assist with IM projects.
The Information Manager will need to lead the RIM WG to do the following:
- Map and harmonize datasets among all operational partners. The Information Manager should track the names of locations, coordinates, Pcodes, common operational datasets (CODs) and fundamental operational datasets (FODs), which may be found at http://cod.humanitarianresponse.info/terms-use in an Excel database. Contact the local OCHA office for area-specific Pcodes. The Information Manager will need to share the Excel database of Pcodes, CODs and FODs with all operational partners, to ensure that emergency partners are using the same units of assessment for data analysis.
- Liaise with implementing and operational partners on data quality issues and data standards; participate in and/or organize inter-agency data groups at the field level; and, if necessary, advise partners on methodological issues and promote timely reporting of data, according to agreed standards, for which they are responsible.
- Ensure consensus surrounding initial population figures, and regularly update partners on registration activities and changing population demographics.
- Distribute information products, CODs and baseline data that should be used by all partners.
4.4.3 Set up web portal and information kiosk
The Information Manager will need to do the following:
- Following approval from the Representative/senior managers, initiate an emergency web portal by contacting web portal administrators. Reference the Web Portal section (Section 17) for instructions on how to initiate a web portal. Working with senior managers, define the frequency of IM products to be updated on the web portal, and begin drafting clearance SOPs for the updating and maintenance of web portal content.
- Begin populating the web portal with the information management products. Meet with the Representative and the external relations officer and discuss web portal needs, such as news highlights, uploading requirements and dissemination schedules.
- Set up and maintain an information kiosk in the UNHCR office, and ensure that hardcopies of information products are available as developed and cleared.
- Use various dissemination channels to share information products and analysis (e-mail lists, SMS, meetings), both within the office and with partners.
Refugee Emergency: Weeks Five–Six
4.5.1 Gather data from sector specialists and understand sector information needs
By the beginning of the fifth or sixth week (or sooner), the Information Manager should meet with programme and all sector specialists to understand what sector-specific information systems are in place and what sector-specific information needs exist. The Information Manager will need to assist all sector specialists with cross-analysis and building or adjusting sectoral data management or tracking tools. For protection and sector-specific IM considerations and tools (where available), refer to the Minimum Sectoral Data sections (Sections 9-14) of this Toolkit.
In this capacity, the Information Manager will need to do the following:
- Hold discussions with the programme officer to understand whether a shelter and core relief item (CRI) distribution monitoring system is functional, and what current needs have been identified. If there is no monitoring and distribution tracking system in place, the Information Manager may establish one. For advice on how to set up a monitoring and distribution tracking system, refer to the Minimum Sectoral Data: C. Core Relief Items section (Section 11) included in this Toolkit.
- The Information Manager should work with the protection officer to gather protection monitoring or needs assessment reports (on security, coping strategies, population movement patterns, etc.), which may impact on the protection situations of persons of concern.
- The Information Manager should gather health, food security, WASH and mortality reports/analyses from respective sector specialists.
- If a vulnerable person case tracking system has been established, the Information Manager should factor this information, as available, into the cross-sectoral analysis. For additional information on registration-related considerations, refer to the Registration in Emergencies section (Section 2) of this Toolkit.
- During the cross-sectoral analysis, if the Information Manager finds conflicting or inconsistent information between sectors, the sectoral leads involved will need to be notified in order to resolve the discrepancies.
Once these steps have been completed, the Information Manager should incorporate sector-specific cross-analysis into existing information products, as agreed with the Representative.
For camp situations, camp profiles should be produced in order to coordinate humanitarian activities across camps and to disseminate multi-sectoral information about particular camps. Refer to Section 8 of this Toolkit for more information on camp profiling.
4.5.2 Identification of IM needs, production of information products and contingency planning
Continue to monitor minimum sector data reports from the sector leads and identify other emergency IM needs as they arise, and include this information and analysis in ongoing standard emergency IM products. The Information Manager may present the most compelling pieces of sectoral information visually, as an info-graphic; see the Info-graphics section of this Toolkit for additional Information.
It may be necessary to transition some of the emergency initial information systems to other systems that can either be sustained over a longer period of time or go into more detail. For example, rapid population estimations could be replaced by an emergency registration.
As advancements in the field are made, tools, examples and links will be added here.
WHO'S DOING WHAT, WHERE
5.1 Overview and Function
The Who’s Doing What, Where (3W) tool is a practical component of information management for coordination purposes and activity gap analysis. In many cases, other Ws are added such as When, Why and for Whom which expands the tool to 6Ws. At the emergency stage the 3W should be kept simple and potentially expanded as the situation evolves. The raw data from a 3W can also contribute to emergency programme monitoring and is a key component in overall gap analysis representing capacity, which is then compared to needs
Creating, maintaining and sharing a 3W with external partners highlights the coordination and communication role of UNHCR in information management throughout an emergency.
5.2 How-to Guide
5.2.1 Responsibility and reporting
The Information Manager will need to create the format for and maintain a continuously updated 3W format, as well as oversee the dissemination of related information both internally and externally to partners.
Setting up a regular and predictable clearance and dissemination plan for the 3W is important, as partners need to know what to expect and when to expect it. The Representative should be regularly briefed on the 3W, and should agree to a frequent 3W dissemination schedule, externally and internally, of at least two to three times a month.
Once cleared by the UNHCR Representative, and as illustrated in the Mapping section of this Toolkit, the 3W may also be mapped and uploaded on the web portal. Where possible, incorporate creative dissemination techniques – using mass SMS and e-mail lists – and ensure that hardcopies are available at information kiosks, included in briefing kits, etc.
5.2.2 Key Information, sources and maintenance
A 3W is populated through networking at meetings, humanitarian briefings, sectoral working groups, monitoring done by field staff and though informal contacts. The 3W will track information on sector and sub-sector actors, location of activities, funding and whether the information is public.
Whenever there are new attendees at coordination or sectoral meetings, establish communication and gather necessary information for inclusion on the 3W, a copy of which should be shared with new colleagues. If a UNHCR Portal is established information should be consolidated and updated on this platform as soon as possible. You may need to support this with offline 3W matrixes, which are included with this Section of the Toolkit as Annexes 1 and 2.
Under the guidance of senior management, criteria for inclusion and exclusion from the 3W should be decided at the national level. For example, should donors or only implementers appear on a 3W? Should activities that have been planned but not started be included on a 3W, or only those that have begun? Should only those activities that have been authorized by the Government appear on a 3W?
All of these questions should be explicitly considered when deciding who and what to track in the 3W matrix. It is possible to add columns and filters to the spreadsheet template to sort through different types of humanitarian activities – planned vs. started, donor vs. implementer, Government authorized vs. not – and then to produce different 3W matrices for different purposes. If this is done, senior management should make it clear which 3W matrices should appear on very public domains, such as the web portal.
Early in a refugee emergency, it may be difficult to obtain detailed data on activities and locations, as this information remains quite fluid during the first phases of an emergency. However, if more detailed information on activities and location is required for reporting or coordination purposes, use Annex 1, the Simplified 3W Reporting and Coordination Template, referenced below, to track and follow-up accordingly with the activity focal point.
As advancements in the field are made, tools, examples and links will be added here.
6 NEEDS ASSESSMENTS
6.1 OVERVIEW AND FUNCTION
Needs assessments are data-collection and analysis exercises conducted at a single point in time, providing a snapshot of the condition of the affected population, including protection issues, availability of resources, the context as well as the sources of problems and their impact on the affected population. Their purpose is to identify protection needs, risks, and solutions in order to inform programme interventions and response activities complementary with positive community coping mechanisms and existing resources.
To be effective, assessments must be joint or harmonised and engage all relevant actors in a sustained multi-stakeholder collaboration, from planning to analysis to dissemination. In addition, they must build on existing knowledge and data to avoid duplication and reduce the risks and burdens to those involved.
Needs assessments are key to ensuring:
Humanitarian assistance and protection is both rights-based and needs-based.
Humanitarian assistance and protection promotes and does not undermine safe local coping mechanisms and capacities.
The respective needs of different population groups are identified and understood (for example: age, sex to socio-economic factors and other issues).
Decisions regarding humanitarian assistance and protection are based on verifiable information.
Although information and data may be complementary, needs assessments are different from monitoring systems as these are intended to continuously collect information on affected areas and people to track changes and trends over time.
Needs assessments gather and analyse both quantitative and qualitative information on the condition of the affected population (protection threats, capacity, vulnerabilities) at a specific time and place (as defined by the scope and scale of the assessment) and provide info on:
Protection risks, threats, and vulnerabilities.
Needs related to the condition of the affected populations.
Existing capacities and coping strategies.
Severity of conditions faced by different groups within the population.
6.2 HOW-TO GUIDE
Detailed information and guidance on conducting and coordinating needs assessments is available in the UNHCR Needs Assessment Handbook (August 2017) and the supporting toolkit (available at: needsassesment.unhcr. org).
The Handbook describes UNHCR’s roles in the coordination of humanitarian needs assessments and offers practical guidance on how to conduct needs assessments and analysis for informed decision-making and needs-based response planning. The Needs Assessment Handbook is structured in two parts. The first - recommended for all audiences - provides guidance on different types of assessments, outlines the principles guiding all assessment activities, sets out UNHCR’s roles and responsibilities in different situations, and provides an overview of the steps to conduct needs assessments.
The second part of the Handbook provides detailed practical guidance on how to conduct needs assessments in the field. It can be used as a reference text, with readers referring to specific steps and sections as needed based on their role in the operation or the needs assessment, and the type of situation.
6.2.1 When to conduct a needs assessment
Needs assessments are appropriate and recommended when:
A new crisis has emerged.
A sudden and/or substantial change happens in an existing crisis.
Contingency planning is being undertaken.
Change in policy, political environment or funding provides new opportunities and additional information is required.
There are three different degrees of coordination for assessments: joint, harmonized or uncoordinated as detailed in the chart below:
Note: Definitions used in the above chart are from the, ‘IASC Operational Guidance for Coordinated Assessment in Humanitarian Emergencies’ (March 2012).
Needs assessment should be carried out periodically and after substantial changes in the context.
6.3 UNHCR roles and responsibilities
The Needs Assessment Handbook provides guidance on the core coordination models by context, along with guidance on the specific roles of UNHCR staff in preparation for, during or after an assessment as outlined in brief below.
6.3.1 UNHCR Representative
The UNHCR Representative should assume overall responsibility for assessments and take appropriate measures to demonstrate effective leadership in coordinated assessments:
have a comprehensive cross-sectoral assessment strategy;
dedicate resources (financial and staff, including: Protection, Programme and IM colleagues) to strengthen needs assessment planning and response;
coordinate with the government and local authorities;
focus on conducting intra and inter-agency joint and/or harmonized assessments where possible;
actively participate in assessment coordination fora chaired by OCHA in IDP situations;
host inter-agency assessment coordination working groups in refugee situations.
6.3.2 UNHCR Protection staff
UNHCR Protection staff have a key role to play in assessments:
working with Programme, and IM colleagues to undertake a comprehensive desk review and the development of an assessment strategy for their operation; including making use of existing data to avoid over-assessment and duplication;
identifying what data and information is sensitive in the operation context, and promoting appropriate measures to adhere to Protection Information Management and data protection principles;
leading specific assessments, including protection assessments in IDP and refugee settings and speciﬁc, protection-focused participatory assessment exercises, including those relating to sensitive issues such as child protection, SGBV, and vulnerable groups;
training and sensitizing data collectors and stakeholders on safe and ethical protection principles and good practices;
participating in conducting intra and inter-agency joint and/or harmonized assessments where possible; including in assessment coordination fora chaired by OCHA in IDP situations;
identifying protection proxy indicators in other sectors’ assessment data;
advocating for the systematic inclusion of protection-related questions (including coping mechanisms and community capacities) into needs assessment methodologies.
6.3.3 UNHCR Programme staff
UNHCR Programme staff have the most important role in the assessment process, particularly when they are part of the regular programme cycle. Core tasks should include:
initiating and managing joint assessment processes to support annual (and multi-year) programme processes;
working with protection, technical and information and data management colleagues in the development of a comprehensive assessment strategy and an analytical framework to support assessment processes;
coordinating with technical staff to ensure efficient use of resources, information and timing with specific sectoral assessments;
ensuring assessment results and data are shared between staff and with partners and affected populations;
providing response and programme monitoring data for secondary data reviews, including making use of other organization’s secondary data to avoid duplication and identify gaps;
linking assessment results and ﬁndings to budget prioritization, response planning, and programming.
6.3.4 UNHCR Information Management Officers
UNHCR information and data management staff are essential to improved needs assessments, providing technical and practical support.
collaborating with Programme and Protection colleagues in the development of a comprehensive assessment strategy;.Facilitating the consolidation of existing data sources to avoid over-assessment and duplication;
providing technical standardization and information management support, particularly on how needs assessments should be designed and undertaken to respect protection information management principles;
supporting the design of data collation, collection tools, sampling frameworks, data storage systems, and joint analysis;
generating data visualization products, including dashboards, infographics, and maps;
coordinating with other agencies’ or clusters’ information management officers around assessments;
facilitate the development of an analytical framework to help organize the operation for analysis;
supporting intra- and inter-agency joint and/or harmonized assessments where possible;
actively participating in technical assessment coordination fora chaired by OCHA in IDP situations;
training the data collectors/enumerators on data management practices and responsibilities;
sharing needs assessment data as appropriate (UNHCR web portal at http://data.unhcr.org (for refugee situations), www.humanitarianresponse.org (for cluster situations); when possible, collecting primary data for needs assessments on mobile devices instead of paper, using UNHCR’s dedicated Kobo server (at http://kobo.unhcr.org).
6.4 NEEDS ASSESSMENT PROCESS
The design of an assessment will be affected by numerous factors. These may include the level of humanitarian access, whether population movements are stable or dynamic, the amount of time and resources available for the needs assessment, and the types of interventions that might be made as a result of the needs assessment.
For in depth guidance on how to conduct a needs assessment, along with other details on the below process, please refer to the UNHCR Needs Assessment Handbook.
Illustrated below is the process for designing and conducting a needs assessment: