Harmonising data systems for cash transfer programming in emergencies in Somalia

  • Owino B
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Quality data and information are fundamental for effective implementation of cash transfer programmes in emergency contexts. Establishing a robust information system can facilitate the equitable and responsive distribution of humanitarian cash-based assistance, while enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of its delivery. This study presents findings on how various humanitarian agencies are collecting and using registration and identification data in cash transfer programmes in Somalia and identifies opportunities, risks and barriers to establishing an effective integrated data system. The study is based on a systematic review of published and grey literature, as well as on key informant interviews with representatives of humanitarian agencies, donors and government officials in Somalia. The study finds that the collection of registration and identification data is largely based on individual agencies’ policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures, resulting in multiple non-interoperable data systems. Progress is being made to harmonise/integrate data systems, including using harmonised registration forms, a common database and data sharing agreements in various consortia; bilateral agreements to share registration platforms; and initiatives by donors and the government to enhance interoperability. Despite this progress, the harmonisation of data systems is still constrained by a number of technical, political, financial and organisational factors, as well as legal, fiduciary, reputational and data protection risks. The study concludes that harmonising data systems presents both long-term opportunities and short-term risks for developing a robust integrated data system for providing cash-based assistance in humanitarian contexts and supporting implementation of social protection programmes.




Owino, B. (2020). Harmonising data systems for cash transfer programming in emergencies in Somalia. Journal of International Humanitarian Action, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-020-00077-1

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