From first contact to durable solutions – how an innovative cloud-based system is boosting efficiency in refugee case management
Minsk, August 2017– Hanna Bystrova, Julia Dvydova and Volha Bakhur have their eyes locked on the screen, focused on trying out the new real-time functionalities made possible by the latest version of UNHCR’s registration and case management software ‘proGres’.
Being able to enter and share live data with colleagues is just one of the ways this new system is making it easier for the three women from the NGO ‘Refugee Counseling Service’, UNHCR partner in Belarus, to register and manage refugees’ cases. During the past week, they have been trained extensively on the new system, alongside their UNHCR colleagues.
Gaining efficiency through technology
Cloud based and accessible from any location with an internet connection, the latest version of proGres is already used by UNHCR’s staff and partners in 33 country offices to gather, maintain, access and analyze data and information about every person-of-concern to UNHCR. Their cases are now entirely managed through the software, from initial contact to longer-term durable solutions.
With direct access to the new platform for authorized partners, this version offers many perks and help them provide a better service for refugees while gaining in time and efficiency.
“Before I would collect information from all over Belarus, record then on an excel file and then come once a month to the UNHCR office in Minsk to share data that UNHCR entered in the system,” explains Hanna, from Refugee Counseling Service “It could take us half a day, sometimes all day.”
“The new software buy us a lot of time. I can now register refugees through the system on my own. And the fact that proGres is available on-line and in real-time is a true advantage,”’ notes Hanna as her colleagues Volha and Julia, who have also been trained on the proGres version 4 and can now support Hanna’s work, nod in agreement
“It’s very easy for us to use, which makes our work more productive,” adds another colleague Vohla. “And now we can share information with UNHCR colleagues through one unique system, which is great,” enthusiastically concludes Julia.
Zoya Golovneva, UNHCR protection associate, approves, “I like that partners have direct access. No data will be missed and I am now able to track their activity remotely.”
Deploying more robust tools to support delivery of protection, assistance and durable solutions.
A crucial feature of the new proGres is its comprehensive coverage of the entire case management process, helping UNHCR and its partners to ensure a continuum of care, crucial for those who are most vulnerable.
The system provides a full range of essential protection and assistance modules that are rolled out to country operations according to their needs. In Belarus, staff and partners were trained on the legal and physical protection as well as on the assistance modules.
A separate training for UNHCR colleagues also introduced them to the improved Refugee Status Determination (RSD) module, which incorporate UNHCR’s decision making process in an electronic format accessible by all staff working on a case and align procedures with the latest standards.
”I am so happy about this new program: in the previous proGres version, we didn’t have the RSD part and we were doing everything on our computers. What happens if you delete the files or have a virus?” says Zoya. “Now, it’s stored safely, I can share cases with senior colleagues through the system and receive their feedback. It’s really user-friendly”
Peter Stockholder, Senior Regional RSD officer at the regional protection support unit based in Tbilisi, also participated in the training on the new RSD module and can already see the benefits.
“The network based aspect is amazing,” he explains “This new version will really helped in lessening the constant flow of records from the field. Besides, with the standardization offered by the new proGres application, it is much easier to compare data from one country to another.”
Belarus is the sixth country of the Eastern Europe and Caucasus region where the software has been deployed. With staff in Moldova preparing to be trained in October, the region will be the first to uniquely use the version 4 of proGres, joining the 32 other countries already using this innovative new software.
In 2018, more countries will have access to this new version of proGres, hence creating a more modern environment for the registration and management of protection and assistance cases everywhere where there are refugees.
UNHCR is continuously adapting and improving its corporate systems, embracing new technologies to provide the people we have a responsibility for with the services they need to improve their lives and future.
By Charlotte Arnaud
For more information about proGres in Partnership please see (link to the factsheet)