UNICEF / Lesotho - Web portal and household validation and enrollment module for the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA)
With the objective of creating inclusive and high value social protection assistance, the Government of Lesotho in partnership with the European Union and UNICEF initiated the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA) programme. The NISSA registry project was launched in 2010 with the aim of increasing the efficiency and coverage of social protection programmes and improving the institutional coordination and consolidation of social assistance programmes in Lesotho.
The NISSA project adopted the census approach where households in deprived communities were classified into four social groups, namely; the poorest, poor, middle class and wealthy, to ensure that eligible families benefit from social protection programmes such as child grant funds. As of 2018, the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) had tested and developed some management information system (MIS) modules required to meet the program objectives. However, a critical module needed for community validation and enrollment processes was still outstanding in the NISSA database.
To ensure that the NISSA program targeted the most vulnerable households, a community validation and enrollment module was a critical feature for the database. To ensure the efficiency and wider coverage of social protection programmes, the field enumerators on the programme needed to have the capacity to adequately, objectively and consistently assess the poverty levels of all households and appropriately categorise households that were eligible to benefit from social protection interventions in routine situations and emergencies.
Considering this, in 2018, UNICEF contracted Bewsys to design, develop and the NISSA household validation and enrolment mobile application and web portal for the Government of Lesotho. In scoping the system requirements, the Bewsys consulting team reviewed the existing community mobilization and registration tools and reports in collaboration with the programmatic team.
Through this, the consulting team developed the user and systems requirements which informed the design and development of the NISSA household validation and enrolment mobile application and web portal. The NISSA household validation and enrollment mobile application and web portal were custom-built on the registration, report generation and monitoring and evaluation modules of the Bewsys Social Protection MIS. The household and enrolment mobile application was designed to facilitate data collection, data validation, and beneficiary registration on the field. Community data collected by social workers and validated on the mobile application are synchronized onto the NISSA server for easy retrieval by NISSA social protection stakeholders.
Although data synchronization from the mobile application to the NISSA server is done via secured internet connection, data is also stored offline for later synchronization when internet connection is poor. With this feature, social workers could access and collect data easily and efficiently from remote communities. The NISSA web portal was also designed to support collaboration by allowing other social protection stakeholders to access and use the collected household data. For secure data transmission between the web application, android application, external systems and stakeholders all data on the mobile application and web portal are encrypted.
The mobile application and web portal were designed to support two languages: Sesotho and English to ensure that language does not limit the provision of inclusive social protection to vulnerable households. In collaboration with the programmatic team from MoSD and UNICEF, the deployed NISSA household validation and enrollment mobile application and web portal were piloted to ensure usability and feasibility on the field before full scale up and handover to the programmatic team.
As of August 2020, the Ministry of Social Development, Lesotho reported that data on 331,000 households had been collected from 64 community councils through the NISSA household validation and enrollment mobile application and web portal. The ministry also has plans of collecting household data from 12 additional urban councils.
Through the NISSA household validation and enrollment mobile application and web portal, the Ministry of Social Development, Lesotho now has access to reliable data to deliver targeted social grants and social welfare services to vulnerable households. With this, the Government of Lesotho can sustainably and effectively contribute to leaving no one behind in advancing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) specifically poverty eradication and reducing inequalities among communities.