Refugee body, UNHCR has adopted a new barcode technology to aid it in distributing food in their camps, cutting distribution time from 10 days to 4 days.
This new barcode technology will be embedded in a card given to all the families in the camp and they can have it scanned as they receive their food rations.
“Previously, staff had to refer to a printed list of all families living in the camp, a lengthy process and one which inevitably led to mistakes, at the Yida settlement in northern South Sudan, which is home to more than 70,000 refugees,” the body said.
The technology helps generate valuable data on how many people are receiving the rations. Other data captured include their gender and their biometrics.
“If a card is determined to be invalid, its owner has the opportunity to argue his or her case at a desk set up to arbitrate disputes within the distribution centre,” UNHCR said.
“The simple technology that we are using allows us to make the monthly distribution of rations easier for the refugees and for UNHCR and our partners. It saves time and manpower and allows us to reduce fraud resulting from lost or stolen ration cards,” Tunzaw Oo, an Associate Registration Officer with the UN refugee agency.
Samaritan Purse another aid organization is also using the same barcode technology to distribute food and get information on malnutrition in camps.
The UNHCR team in Yida is also examining the possibility of installing wireless internet technology in the camp that would link two distributions sites and allow data to be entered and accessed from different locations.