UNICEF / DR Congo - Development of a Management Information System to Support Shock Responsive social protection in DRC
Violence, exploitation and abuse against children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is widespread in all settings, including families, schools and communities. The DRC is one of the countries with the highest rates of gender-based violence directed towards children, accounting for 47% of survivors in emergency zones. Nearly one in two women aged 25 to 49 is affected by child marriage, often related to teenage pregnancies. In fact, 27% of girls aged 15-19 are pregnant and the DRC has the 7th highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the world. In addition, 25% of children under five are registered in the civil registry, and only 14% have a birth certificate. This is due to a registration system struggling to reach new-borns, a difficulty accentuated in conflict zones. The level of vulnerability and poverty in the DR Congo has jeopardised peace-building and development efforts.
In 2017, a strategic framework was established by the Government to adopt a comprehensive national social protection policy. This brought about social protection programs such as social safety nets. However, the programs remained fragmented, poorly funded, and failed to adequately meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable in a context of deep fragility. As of 2018, the poverty rate of the country was 63.4% and recorded an income per capita estimated at USD 462. The slow progress of social protection programs has been attributed to diverse factors including by low budget allocation and inefficient coordination of interventions initiated by government and humanitarian development agencies.
Over the years, these factors have stifled the coverage and socioeconomic value delivered to vulnerable households under social protection programs. The Government of DR Congo in partnership with UNICEF identified the potential value of a national registration system in identifying, registering, tracing and supporting vulnerable households with social services during regular and emergency situations. To adequately reduce the social and economic risks of household vulnerability in The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the DRC Government with funding from UNICEF sought to build a management information system (MIS) for improved social protection programs.
Bewsys was contracted by UNICEF to design, develop, and implement a management information system (MIS) for safety nets programs in DRC. The Bewsys consulting team focused on building a user-centered information management system to support national shock responsive social protection programs and services in the country. Research was conducted by the consulting team to capture the socioeconomic characteristics of beneficiaries (households, caregivers, children) to establish registration validation in the information management system.
The system was custom-built on the registration, payment, case management, system administration, report generation modules of the Bewsys Social Protection MIS. The system was created to feature a dynamic roster of beneficiaries that will be constantly updated to reflect new entries, dropouts, changes in the beneficiaries’ socio-demographic information, etc.
To help in issuing payments orders, reconciling payments, carrying out spot checks for auditing purposes, and storing information on amounts of payments received by beneficiaries, an automatic generation of lists of beneficiaries was featured in the development of the system. The system was designed with a critical consideration of data protection and security to prevent unauthorised access, data manipulation, and data loss. In collaboration with the technical team of UNICEF, a pilot on the management system was conducted to guarantee the functionality and feasibility of the application.
The management system has increased political will in mobilising resources and improving donor coordination. It is easier to access vulnerable populations with an improved system as there is easy access to a social registry. In the event of a crisis, affected populations can be easily located, supported with care or relief packages through the social safety net program. This progress is a step in reducing poverty and promoting sustainable social development and economic growth.
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