Emergency registration
© UNHCR/Adam Dean
6.2 Planning for emergency registration

Contingency planning for refugee emergencies

  • The Emergency Handbook provides guidance on when and how to engage in a contingency planning exercise for refugee emergencies. The guidance states that registration and documentation, as well as the identification of specific needs, should be considered in the response strategy of the contingency plan. A contingency plan for registration will not be as detailed and complete as an emergency registration strategy. It should, however, contain sufficient information to be easily converted into a skeleton emergency registration response. As such, it should include the foreseen role of the Government, of UNHCR and other partners, the objectives and admissibility criteria for registration, the initial types of registration foreseen (pre-registration and/or Individual Emergency Registration (IER)), possible registration locations, possible tools to be used, and an estimation of staffing and budgetary requirements for the first three months of the response.

Understand the emergency context

  • At the outset of an emergency response, the Identity Management and Registration Officer must assess all the available information necessary in order to plan and develop a strategy for initiating registration activities as soon as possible. No two emergencies are the same and it is critical to understand the key elements of the specific emergency context to design an effective and appropriate response. Refer to Module 3.1 for guidance on understanding the operational context, including:

  • The affected population

    Their profile(s), condition and immediate needs

    From where they have fled, where they have settled in the host country and whether they intend to seek asylum

    The presence of fighters,host country nationals or other populations or nationalities among the refugees

  • Border monitoring, as well as government sources and other estimations, are sources of important initial information on arrival rates, patterns of arrival and destination, sex/age breakdown and other relevant characteristics of the population concerned.

    A fighter is any man, woman or child who is either a member of State armed forces (other than medical personnel and religious personnel) or the fighting forces of a non-State armed group.

  • The legal and political context

    What systems are in place, if any, to manage refugees on the territory? Are relevant international or regional instruments related to refugees adhered to?

    Has a prima facie declaration been made, has temporary or complementary protection been offered?

    Is there an encampment policy for some or all refugees?

    Are registration activities carried out by the host government or UNHCR or jointly? Is mandate refugee status recognized under the law?

  • The protection environment

    The extent to which the basic rights of asylum-seekers and refugees are protected in law and in practice. In particular, are all persons of concern admitted into the country of asylum and protected against refoulement?

    Are national laws, government entities and humanitarian actors able to provide effective protection and assistance?

    What is the level of acceptance of refugees and asylum-seekers among the local population?

    Who are the relevant stakeholders? Partners in an emergency are the refugees themselves, UNHCR Offices at all levels from the field to HQ, the host government authorities, and typically, WFP, the Red Cross or Red Crescent, UNICEF, IOM and implementing partners.

  • In addition, the identity management and registration officer should conduct a desk review to assess current registration infrastructure, staffing and processes (unless there are no activities currently on the ground) against the global Registration Standards. This analysis should identify key issues and challenges, define registration priorities and objectives and to take stock of existing resources. The Emergency Checklist sets out a number of key registration issues to be assessed in the context of strategy development in emergencies:

  • Existing registration processes

    Data collection and data management: Is it sufficient and appropriate to meet the objectives of registration?

    Registration procedures: Are there issues with access to registration? Are there bottlenecks? Are there fraud concerns? Can procedures accommodate a significantly increased demand for registration?

    Existing infrastructure: Is it able to support scaled-up registration activities?

    Stakeholders: Do current roles and responsibilities correspond to capacities and interests?

    Documentation: Is it sufficient, efficiently issued and recorded? Is it secure and does it provide the protection benefits it is intended to (in particular, if it is not issued by the government, is it recognized by the authorities)?

    Resources: How do resource needs match up to staffing, space, materials, equipment and capacity on the ground?

Design an emergency registration strategy

  • A registration response may be initiated before a fully-fledged, detailed and complete registration strategy has been finalized. A strategy is nonetheless necessary.

    An emergency registration strategy should be developed as a working document as early as possible in the immediate emergency phase. It may need to contain more than one proposed course of action (depending on the various contingencies) or require several iterations (until the scope of the situation, including the role of UNHCR and the host government as well as the presence of partners, is more durably established). Moreover, the strategy may be conceived in phases, for example, a plan for initial basic data collection, to be followed by a second phase in which a more robust and sustainable registration process is developed that matches or adapts to the longer-term operational plans for protection and assistance delivery, beyond the immediate emergency phase. In all cases, it is likely that a certain degree of flexibility and adaptability will be required for the strategy to accommodate and respond to changing operational needs and unforeseen issues.

    Depending on the extent and nature of the host government’s involvement in the emergency, UNHCR should engage government counterparts in the development of the strategy based on an assessment of their capacity, engagement, and concerns relating to the emergency situation.

    Guidance for an ad hoc emergency registration strategy can be found in Module 3.2. The following elements should be covered:

  • 1. Background to the emergency and current situation

    A short background should be provided to explain the operational, political and protection background for the registration strategy. Refer to ‘Understand the emergency context’ above for the general background information that will help situate the strategy: events leading to the influx, political and protection context as well as the current registration needs and gaps identified. In addition, a summary of the current registration processes in place (if any) should be provided, highlighting the gaps to be addressed by the emergency registration activity.

  • 2. Purpose and objectives of the emergency registration exercise and admissibility criteria

    The purpose of the activity answers the question ‘for whom and why is registration being conducted?’ and defines the role that registration will play in bringing about the protection, solutions and assistance objectives of the overall emergency strategy.

    Admissibility to the emergency registration exercise will be limited to the affected population(s) (nationality / group). Admissibility should be exhaustively formulated in the strategy, for example: 

    “Admissibility to this emergency registration exercise is restricted to citizens or stateless persons from [country], who have come from [geographical area directly affected by unrest], and located in the border areas of [CoA location(s)] since [beginning of emergency]”.

    Objectives set out in the strategy should be formulated as affirmative sentences and refer explicitly to intended protection benefits. One of the key deliverables of emergency registration is to compellingly replace the pre-existing population estimates emerging from various sources. Emergency registration must generate and maintain the accurate population figures required by all actors in the operation. Objectives may include the following, for example:

    This emergency registration exercise will:

    • identify persons in need of international protection and provide them with identity documents;
    • allow for the identification and referral of individuals with specific needs to available or planned services;
    • issue entitlement documents required to access assistance and services, enabling tracking and strengthening accountability in the emergency response; 
    • produce and maintain the most authoritative and accurate population figures required by UNHCR and all other actors in the response.
  • 3. Proposed registration scope and process

    The scope of emergency registration is determined by a number of factors, including the estimated size of the target population and their locations, the role of UNHCR in the registration activity, the proposed methodology, timeline and daily output for the emergency registration exercise. The strategy should set out:

  • 3.1 Registration centre layout for each registration process

    The strategy should indicate whether there will be multiple registration centres and if so, whether registration will be conducted concurrently, by area or other organizing criteria. Given the urgent need to begin registration as soon as possible, existing infrastructure and local procurement options may need to be explored in order to set up registration centres immediately at the onset of the emergency. Procurement processes and delivery of supplies are likely to take several weeks to complete and therefore, the goal should be to improve and develop registration centres over time to meet registration standards. See 6.4 for key considerations on registration centre site identification and layout in emergencies. Module 3.9 provides further general guidance on registration centre site layout.

  • 3.2 Key elements of the planned registration process (to be elaborated in SOPs):

    ♦ Registration data set(s) to be applied: the strategy should indicate the data set or data sets to be applied in planned registration activities, namely Individual Emergency Registration (IER), and Group pre-registration where this will be conducted in advance of IER. See 6.5 on data collection in emergencies.

    ♦ Documents to be issued: Where documentation is to be issued by UNHCR, the type and validity period should be decided in consultation with protection colleagues, senior management and the host government. Refer to Module 5.3 for general guidance on identity and entitlement documentation.

    • Identity documentation
      • Time is of the essence in emergencies, and so where agreements are not yet un place with the host government as to the refugee status of the affected population, UNHCR should, at a minimum, issue a proof of registration Where feasible, identity documentation should be issued to each individual, as per UNHCR’s policy on Age, Gender and Diversity. Otherwise, the documentation may, if necessary, be initially issued only to the focal point in the household, with information on the individuals within the household or family.
      • It is generally not appropriate or feasible to immediately issue refugee ID cards during an emergency, since it requires extensive discussions with national authorities over design and data elements to be featured on the cards, and longer waiting times for ordering and receiving the necessary equipment and material. The emergency registration strategy should, however, plan for the issuance of ID cards, in agreement with government authorities, at latest during continuous registration or verification.
    • Entitlement documentation
        • The appropriate entitlement document in a given emergency depends on whether and how assistance is to be provided to the affected population.
        • Fixing tokens may be used as temporary entitlement documents at pre-registration, to be replaced by ration cards during registration. See ‘Conduct group pre-registration ahead of organized movement’ in 6.3 for more on accessory documentation.
        • Ration cards are common entitlement documents in emergencies and are generally jointly issued with WFP, depending on the operational context and partnerships in place.
        • Other entitlement documents include cash cards and ATM cards, however, the processes and parties involved in their issuance are such that these cards are unlikely to be available in the initial stages of an emergency, unless they were already issued beforehand.

      ♦ Tools to capture and store data: In emergencies, it is recommended to use RApp to collect reception and registration data, which is then synchronized to proGres. The use of BIMS is recommended; where necessary, instead of collecting 10 fingers and 2 irises, the operation can opt to use just one modality to speed up registration processes while ensuring accountability.

      ♦ Key steps in the process (to be elaborated in SOPs): It is recommended to insert a process flow chart (see also the example SOP in Module 3.5) in the strategy that briefly explains each step of the registration process and related staffing roles and responsibilities. In particular, foreseen identification and referral procedures for persons with specific needs should be set out in the strategy. Where referral processes are not yet in place, they should be established to the extent possible with protection colleagues and health/other partners, to be further developed as the capacity to handle referrals increases. Data quality must be monitored throughout the registration process. Data capture should be reviewed by dedicated staff, prior to the finalization of registration and issuance of documentation.

  • 3.3 Fraud management and complaints mechanisms

    Anti-fraud measures should be mainstreamed throughout all processes and explained in the registration strategy. Given the volume of documentation issued within a short time, combined with the large number of personnel (many of whom recently recruited), careful attention should be given to putting in place robust tracking mechanisms to safeguard against fraudulent use of registration material or equipment as well as their loss or damage. Clear roles must be assigned at each step of the registration process to ensure lines of accountability. These roles should be explained in the registration SOPs. Registration materials must be securely stored and documentation issuance must be carefully tracked. See 6.5 for further guidance on secure documentation in emergencies. There should be daily or otherwise frequent audits and data quality checks for data recorded during emergency registration.

    The Fraud Vulnerability Checklist is a useful tool to help assess processes relating to:

    • Training
    • SOPs
    • Electronic and physical filing access control
    • Physical infrastructure and interviewing
    • Management and oversight
    • Documentation
    • Communication and complaints

    Confidential complaint mechanisms should be established to enable people to file complaints and report misconduct by registration staff. Strong supervision of the complaint mechanism is an important anti-fraud measure. See Module 4 for guidance on establishing complaint mechanisms.

  • 4. Training plan

    The strategy should set out the training plan for newly recruited staff. Training staff needs substantive planning, an appropriate location and a budget to cover costs. See ‘Training and supporting staff’ below for training in emergencies and Module 3.7 for general guidance on staff training.

  • 5. Coordination with stakeholders

    Key stakeholders include the host government, the population of concern, other UN agencies and NGOs present, whether or not they are implementing activities or contributing resources. From the outset of the emergency response, UNHCR should engage all relevant stakeholders and strive to build and sustain a sense of ownership and collaboration towards a common set of goals. In the spirit of collaboration, UNHCR and its partners should work together to minimize duplication of activities and foster transparency and communication among actors in the response. The relationship between UNHCR and implementing partners engaged under PPA also requires attention, support, training and performance management. Refer to the Emergency Handbook for specific guidance on working with partners in emergencies, and to Module 2 for general guidance on working with governments and other partners.

    In respect of internal partners, Registration staff may need to coordinate with and engage support from many entities within UNHCR, including PI/Communication, Information Management and ICT colleagues, Field Protection, SGBV and other specific protection work units, Supply/Logistics, Admin and others as well as regional support and advice from headquarters. To this end, the Identity Management and Registration Officer may need to establish coordination and communication mechanisms both internally and externally to ensure registration activities achieve their purpose and have the intended protection and assistance impact.

  • 6. Data sharing arrangements

    The strategy should set out the data sharing arrangements to be set up with the host government and other third parties, as appropriate. UNHCR must assess the level of data protection afforded by the government or other third party, for example, through a data protection impact assessment (DPIA), before concluding a data sharing agreement (DSA). The systems and tools of the government or other third party should afford a level of data protection that is the same or comparable to UNHCR’s Data Protection Policy. Part 6 of the Data Protection Policy and Part 9 of the Data Protection Guidance provide concrete guidance on the requirements for concluding a DSA, and the key provisions that must be contained within the DSA. Sample data sharing agreements have been developed at headquarters and are available in the Data Protection Toolkit. DSA templates can also be shared with operations upon request as well as further guidance and support. The Data Protection Officer and LAS are required to review and clear all DSAs prior to finalization.

    In addition, it should be recalled that:

    • DSAs are required in addition to the MoU; where a MoU establishes roles and responsibilities of the parties, the DSA sets out the specific data fields to be shared, for what purpose and through which means. Note that where the MoU sets out data sharing provisions as well, an additional DSA will not be required.
    • DSAs are normally not necessary for implementing partners since the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) covers data sharing and transfer issues. However, for the joint use of PRIMES, an Addendum to PPA template is available in the Data Protection Tool kit.
    • The WFP-UNHCR global data sharing addendum to the 2011 MoU aims to simplify processes for data sharing between the two agencies at the operation level. Where additional data beyond the standard data outlined in the addendum is requested, UNHCR should refer to the general principles for data sharing outlined in the Data Protection Policy and Guidance.
  • 7. Provide an outline of the information campaign

    The strategy should set out the main elements of the information campaign, for example, in a timeline that includes consultation on the registration plan, information channels and information products, and their development, testing and implementation. Refer to Module 4 for guidance on communicating with communities about registration. The population of concern are key stakeholders in registration preparations, and this is particularly so for the information campaign. Information campaigns should always include ‘free of charge’ messages for all services provided by UNHCR, including registration.

    In emergencies, normal communication channels may become disrupted and new channels may emerge. In addition, information needs may change over time and different groups of people may become affected by information gaps. Tips, tools and resources for communicating in emergencies can be found here, including the need for coordination among partners to minimize confusion and other good practices like pooling information channels with other actors, simplifying messages and using a plurality of information channels to promote inclusivity and accessibility.

  • 8. List of resources and budget

    Following an assessment of what existing materials could be made available for the emergency exercise, the identity management and registration officer should prepare an itemized list of additional materials that need to be ordered, including their specifications. This list will form part of the budget that has to cover all of the costs associated with the registration exercise, including logistics, infrastructure, IT equipment, accessory tools, documentation and other needs per location/activity. In addition to infrastructure, equipment and materials required for registration, the budget should also include, where applicable, staffing costs (staff meals, DSA, relevant entitlements for government and security personnel, staff training, staff accommodation and infrastructure, staff transport, vehicle rental and fuel), as well as cash for urgent procurement and other payments. See ‘Resourcing in emergencies’ below for more guidance.

    The budget should be as detailed as possible in order to ensure the resources needed will be made available, whether entirely through funding internal to UNHCR, or through external funds, for which a summarized version of the budget can serve as a key fundraising tool. A budget template for emergency registration is available here.

  • 9. Timeframe and roll-out

    Emergency registration requires extensive consultation and preparation with other functional units, the population of concern, the host government and operational partners before activities can commence. A timeframe should be developed and set out in the strategy, allocating time to achieve all the steps required (many conducted concurrently), from identifying resources, to coordinating with partners, carrying out the information campaign, setting up systems and procedures for registration, to preparing the registration site, resources and tools.

    The roll-out should provide the start date for registration and the schedule for the registration in different sites, if appropriate. The duration of implementation for each location can be estimated based on the projected number of individuals to register per location, multiplied by the time it takes on average to register a family of 5 (15 minutes for Individual Emergency Registration plus biometric enrolment) in light of the number of hours in a working day and the number of staff on board.

    See this tool to help calculate the duration of registration activities and related staffing requirements.

  • 10. Continuous registration or verification

    The operation needs to plan for continuous registration from the outset of the emergency and identify the resources this activity will require. In particular, the registration of new births occurring during and after the emergency phase should be carried out in parallel with Individual Emergency Registration (IER). It may be appropriate, for example, to allocate one day per week in the registration schedule to register new births and issue, replace or update identity documentation and ration cards to reflect changes in family composition. Continuous registration processes must be communicated during the information campaign as well as pre-interview counselling. Continuous registration is essential for UNHCR to produce and maintain the accurate and authoritative population figures needed to implement the response, both during and beyond the emergency phase.

    Consider the following points specific to emergencies:

    • The validity period of identity documentation issued during IER should reflect the processing capacity to renew documents and be appropriate to the operational context;
    • It should be established which other processes should take place at the time of document renewal, for example:
      • Transition from paper identity documentation to ID cards
      • Complete biometric enrolment where partially done or not yet done
      • Identification and recording of additional specific needs
      • Other interventions by health and protection partners such as vaccination and other forms of assistance
    • The Identity Management and Registration Officer should work with protection colleagues and health partners to identify whether and how refugees can access birth registration procedures in the host country, and what UNHCR can to do to facilitate access to such procedures as well as the issuance of birth certificates. As discussed in Module 5.3 and Module 2, UNHCR promotes the recording of refugee births within the national civil registry of the host State, in accordance with relevant legal requirements. Registering new births in proGres in no way replaces the official birth record by national authorities.
    • In the longer term, it is possible that the registration site in which IER was conducted is no longer a suitable location for continuous registration, for example, if the population has settled elsewhere – further away from the border or towards urban areas.

    Refer to Module 8 for general guidance on continuous registration.

  • 11. Contingency planning within the emergency

    Emergencies are by their nature unpredictable. Although the registration strategy may make allowances for a certain number of expected arrivals, there may be instances where a parallel influx occurs within the emergency. Emergency registration strategies should be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. Although this creates difficulties for budget and procurement planning, it is advisable to ensure a reasonable buffer for unplanned exigencies. In addition, registration staff in an emergency should be flexible and adapt to changing Terms of References until such time as the emergency situation stabilizes. In many cases, temporary or ad hoc staffing arrangements are necessary at the onset of an emergency in order to respond rapidly to the influx. However, these should be considered temporary measures only and regularization of staffing positions through partnership agreements or post creation must be reviewed and made available as soon as feasible.

Resourcing in emergencies

  • In parallel with the stepping up of operational activities to address the emergency, early consultation with Programme, Admin and Supply sections is necessary to prepare and implement scaled-up registration activities. The Identity Management and Registration Officer should establish a reasonable start date for registration activities (whether multiple or simultaneous roll-out dates) in light of expected arrival of staff, procurement of materials and other logistical arrangements. At the same time, it may be necessary to be ready to respond to registration demand with available staff and materials, with the goal of improving quality and resources over time. Refer to Module 3 for general guidance on resource requirements, procurement and management.

  • Staffing

    Staffing requirements may be calculated by reference to the size of the population concerned, the planned throughput at each registration site, and the anticipated registration approach including datasets, tools and process. Also relevant is the scale and type of the emergency response. For example, in large operations, team leaders should be assigned to each process step to coordinate staff. For mobile or shelter-to-shelter registration, the staffing needs may be higher than for registration conducted at a fixed location. In contexts where the host government is leading the emergency registration, UNHCR’s support functions may mean staffing needs are reduced and required profiles are different, for example, with more emphasis on training.

    Existing staff capacity should be assessed in order to determine additional staffing needs. The agreed roles and responsibilities of the required additional staff, as well as the urgency, determine what type of contractual arrangement is suitable:

    • International staffing needs beyond that which the country operation/region can already supply should be initially sourced from the Emergency Response Team (ERT) roster. ERT deployments have a maximum duration of three months. Plans should be made for staffing to replace the ERT deployees (unless not required).

    • Other sources for international staffing include missions (Regional Offices, other operations, IMRS), Temporary Assignments or Appointments and affiliate workforce contracts including UNOPS, IUNV and standby partner schemes.

    • Depending on the magnitude of the emergency, more often than not the need for registration and operation data management staff will remain for a prolonged period. In this case, the preferred approach is to secure the creation of positions and their advertisement through Fast Track procedures to take over from emergency deployment.

    • Local staff can be initially recruited on individual contractor agreements. All staffing arrangements will need to be regularly reassessed as the emergency evolves. Contractual arrangements in the longer term include TAs, UNOPS, UNV and the creation of new local staff position and/or upgrade of existing ones. Implementing partners can also conduct registration, if appropriately trained and where oversight by experienced UNHCR staff is assured.

  • For further guidance on staffing in the context of regular registration activities, see Module 3.7.

  • Materials

    Resource requirements for registration equipment and materials in emergencies may be calculated by reference to planning documents such as site and location plans, staffing plans, process flow and registration layouts. Additionally, it may be necessary to consider vehicle requirements and staff accommodation arrangements. For example, buses and 4×4 may need to be rented to transport personnel and equipment to sites, and depending on how staff are being accommodated, tents, mattresses and other such items may be required.

    Following an assessment of what existing materials can be made available for the emergency exercise, the identity management and registration officer should prepare a list of additional materials that need to be ordered, including their specifications. In emergency situations, registration materials should be purchased locally where possible, given the shorter lead times for delivery. Exceptions to this rule include certain materials which must comply with UNHCR standards and specifications or contain centralized serialization, including, for example, ration cards and some equipment such as BIMS equipment and BIMS and RApp field servers. Registration materials that cannot or should not be purchased locally may be ordered from the IMRS stockpile, and ICT equipment and kits may be ordered from the DIST emergency stockpile. Certain orders can also be made through the Procurement Service (PS) in Budapest. IMRS may be contacted for further guidance on ordering procedures and ordering forms. Emergency requests to the IMRS Registration Stockpile will be prioritized over all other global requests. Refer to Module 3.8. for guidance on ordering materials, equipment management, accountability and storage.

Draft SOPs

  • Designing SOPs at the planning stage is important to provide an understanding of the registration process flow and resource requirements. They are a work in process, especially in emergencies, in which processes, resourcing and strategy may not fully be in place at the outset of registration activities. SOPs are essential for a clear notion of how a complex registration activity is going to work and must be drafted – even in simplified form – as early as possible. Importantly, the data set, including specific needs codes (SNC) to be applied at registration should be defined and agreed with protection colleagues and other partners, and set out in the SOPs. It will be necessary to agree on a reduced number of specific needs to be identified in the emergency phase, in light of registration capacity (time, resources), to be expanded in the post-emergency phase according to longer-term protection responses planned for the population.

    Typically, the following categories of persons with specific needs are expected to be identified during emergency registration:

    • Unaccompanied and separated children
    • Child-headed households
    • Older persons, particularly if they are unaccompanied
    • Persons with physical or easily identifiable disabilities and their families
    • Persons with urgent, physical or visible medical needs

    These are specific needs that are not generally difficult to identify during registration. Other specific needs (health, psychological or other urgent needs) which are not visible, but which are declared by the individual during registration should also be recorded and referred as possible, according to SOPs.

    Mechanisms for the referral of persons with specific needs from registration to protection response should be clearly explained in the SOPs. If there is no referral mechanism yet in place, the Identity Management and Registration Officer should work with protection colleagues to establish one, based on a mapping of existing services and partners. It is important to be realistic about what can be achieved immediately in terms of responding to individual vulnerabilities, and what should be planned for the longer term. Refer to Module 3.5 for guidance on drafting SOPs.

    SOPs must be in place before the new staff is trained, as the document will form a key part of the training as well as an important tool in guiding new personnel through their daily work.

Training and supporting staff

  • In emergency situations, it is difficult to allocate the time needed to ensure the adequate training of registration staff. However, newly recruited staff who have not been provided basic training on registration are likely to create significant data quality concerns which will require clean-up later on. As such, where conditions are not conducive to a comprehensive training before registration activities commence, training on the protection objectives of registration, UNHCR’s Code of Conduct and a walk-through of the stages of the procedure is essential for the process to function correctly. In addition, depending on the role the staff is recruited for, staff must be trained on using relevant tools, identifying and recording a set of specific needs, and interviewing skills. Training staff needs substantive planning, an appropriate location and a budget to cover costs. At the very minimum, newly recruited staff must be provided with at least one day of training prior to beginning registration activities. Resources should also be made available to conduct on-the-job coaching and training during the first few days of a registration exercise, as well as additional training as soon as feasible. For example, initially, registration time can be reduced one day per week to accommodate for training time. In addition, when activities commence, data quality and process quality on site should be closely monitored, with bottlenecks identified and problems resolved early on. The Identity Management and Registration Officer should consult team leaders about any performance issues, including relating to attitudes and awareness, and ask for feedback from staff about the tools, data set – what is working, what is not.

    Emergency registration often involves employing a large number of personnel, without previous registration or UNHCR experience, and who are expected to become operational very quickly. In light of these and other constraints inherent to the emergency context, a KSA (Knowledge-Skills-Attitudes) approach to staff training can be effective in building the abilities and characteristics that will enable a staff member to accomplish their activities:

    • What do staff need to know to conduct a registration interview well – knowledge
    • What do staff need to be able to do to achieve this – skills
    • What behavior or motivation do you want staff to have in their work – attitude
    • Knowledge includes a sound understanding of:
      UNHCR’s protection mandate, its position on the emergency situation as well as country of origin context, the concept of the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum, the overall process of registration, admissibility, specific needs codes, registration data set, SOPs, code of conduct, principles of confidentiality and data protection, anti-fraud and integrity measures, basic principles of crowd control.

    • Skills includes how to:
      identify visible and certain non-visible vulnerabilities, use the registration form, screen for admissibility, conduct counselling, conduct grouping, use the database and tools (proGres, RApp, BIMS), work with interpreters, interpersonal and communication skills.

    • Attitudes include:
      Age, gender and diversity sensitivity, compassion, patience, respect for persons of concern and colleagues, sense of personal safety and security.

  • More comprehensive staff training, covered in Module 3.7, should be delivered in due course, together with the sharing of revised SOPs as they are updated and other information necessary for staff to do their jobs successfully. Conducting a general assessment of the quality of registration data during the first month of the registration exercise will help identify training gaps and needs, ensuring the right focus and content of refresher trainings.

    Beyond training, the Identity Management and Registration Officer has an important leadership role in team building and monitoring of morale of the team. Working conditions in an emergency can involve significant hardship, with insecure work contracts, poor working conditions, long hours and fewer rest days. It is important to work on improving conditions for staff as the situation stabilizes, and identify ways to maintain good staff morale, including:

    • Rotating tasks among the registration team
    • Demonstrating that staff safety and security is paramount
    • Identifying persons with good skills and giving them greater responsibilities
    • Conducting regular meetings, listening to suggestions, and keeping everyone informed about operational issues
    • Being present and available during the registration exercise
    • Ensuring accommodation, food, water and staff break areas are adequate
    • Celebrating achievements