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REACH: Linking Biometrics and Mapping in South Sudan

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In February 2012, a REACH team was deployed to South Sudan in order to support aid actors responding to the ongoing refugee influx in Blue Nile state. REACH’s initial focus has been on conducting assessments and producing maps to facilitate humanitarian planning and coordination in Jamam refugee camp, Maban County. To date, over 20 maps have been produced, and five assessment reports were drafted to inform decision making in relation to Jamam camp. REACH is researching linking biometric data from intake registration of refugees with mapping, allowing the organisations involved in facilitating the camp to serve the refugee population more effectively.

Communication Strategies: 

The REACH assessment teams have been producing maps and creating comprehensive databases in an effort to inform more effective operational set-up and management of the camps. Numerous individual static maps and interactive map CD-ROMs have been produced and widely disseminated to actors operating within the South Sudan refugee crisis response context.

 

One information management initiative undertaken by REACH involves the creation of a geo-referenced database of households in Jamam refugee camp. Through this effort, refugee household structures in the camp were mapped by global positioning system (GPS) devices and satellite image analysis, then correlated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) biometric registration database, enabling humanitarian aid actors to conduct demographic analysis of the population. One of the key features of this geo-referenced database is the capability to produce interactive maps that can be used to track food distribution, non-food item (NFI) distributions, health metrics, etc.

 

In addition to mapping and database management, REACH assessments have focused on the socio-cultural organisation and dynamic of the camps, as well as natural resource depletion and energy use among the refugee population. The reports produced as a result of these assessments have been used in targeting interventions and overall camp management.

 

Currently, REACH South Sudan is positioned to provide other interventions including programme impact analysis, conflict mapping, flood mapping, and natural resource assessment.

 

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), describing biometric use in the Yida camp, "biometrics is a critical way for UNHCR to target services, to prevent multiple registrations and make planning and delivery more efficient.... Precise registration also facilitates individual follow-up for the most vulnerable refugees. UNHCR is simultaneously using the process to update information on special needs such as female-headed households, pregnant or lactating women, or malnourished children. In this way, protection staff can quickly identify and meet the needs of the most vulnerable in a camp made up of more than 70 percent women and children."

 

Development Issues: 

Population, Nutrition, Health, Environment.

Key Points: 

REACH’s mission is to enhance aid effectiveness by promoting and facilitating the collection, organisation, and dissemination of key information among aid actors before, during, and in the aftermath of a crisis. By doing so, REACH supports aid actors in meeting the needs of communities affected by disasters more effectively. Since 2010, REACH has facilitated data collection, organisation, and dissemination in various contexts. REACH supports aid planning and coordination in contexts of reconstruction, stabilisation, and preparedness. REACH conducts socio-economic assessment and mapping exercise in the country of deployment. Additionally, community-based data collection techniques are utilised to inform peace building and conflict mitigation activities.

 

Though numbers vary seasonally and with the influx of violence, there are more than 170,000 refugees spread over seven camps in Upper Nile and Unity states. These camps include Jamam, Doro, Yusif Batil, Gendrassa, Nyeel, Pariang, and Yida.

 

Partner Text: 

Global Shelter Cluster (GSC), including, among others, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and UNHCR. From its outset, REACH has been an interagency initiative between international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and UN programmes, its founding members being Agence d’Aide à la Coopération Technique Et au Développement (ACTED), IMPACT Initiatives and UNOSAT (The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme).

Contact Information: 
Source: 

REACH website and reliefweb website, January 14 2013.

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