IOM deploys biometric verification project to help displaced people in Congo

May 5, 2015 - 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently began its biometric verification exercise of internally displaced people (IDPs) during food assistance in displacement sites in the North Kivu province in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The initiative, which began in February, is designed to boost accountability and curb identity fraud due to nearly 80 percent of adults living in Nzulo, Buhimba and Shasha having no form of identity documents.

To resolve these issues, IOM launched a biometric registration pilot program in eight displacement sites around the city of Goma last June.

The organization has successfully collected fingerprints of almost 16,000 IDPS between June 2014 and April 2015, which it will use to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the most vulnerable individuals while avoiding any duplication and fraud.

“Taking fingerprints allows unique identification of each beneficiary to avoid double registration or fraud,” said Flora Camain, information management officer at IOM North Kivu. “The aid goes to those registered in the database. That way we can ensure that the aid benefits the individuals for whom it is meant.”

The initiative is intended to bring accountability to affected populations following reports that certain IDPs were registered more than once at the expense of other individuals who are in desperate need for help.

The biometric verification program was made possible through the aid of partners World Food Programme (WFP) and World Vision International (WVI), which respectively provide and distribute food.

Additionally, the program received aid from IOM’s camp manager partner Première-Urgence – Aide Médicale Internationale (PU-AMI) and the Commission Nationale pour les Réfugiés (CNR), which represents the Congolese authorities in displacement sites.

Once individuals in Nzulo, Buhimba and Shasha have been biometrically registered, the project will be extended to other IOM-coordinated displacement sites in North Kivu and partnerships to include other service providers operating in displacement sites.

In DRC, IOM jointly runs the Displacement Sites Working Group (DSWG) with UNHCR, which represents the country’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management sector.

IOM oversees the overall management and coordination of the humanitarian response for 69,000 IDPs in 29 displacement sites, including calling for more humanitarian aid and developing strategies for accurate identification and registration of IDPs.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.