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close this bookCounting and Identification of Beneficiary Populations in Emergency Operations (ODI, 1997, 110 p.)
close this folderAnnexes
View the documentAnnex 1. Statistics
View the documentAnnex 2. Sample registration form (Emergency Assistance Operations)
View the documentAnnex 3. Steps for conducting a registration

Annex 3. Steps for conducting a registration

Once the decision to register has been taken and before registering, ask the following questions:

· What are the objectives of a programme or activity?

· How are you planning to implement the programme - directly, indirectly, to all the population, targeting just a portion, etc?

· Who are you dealing with - the target group of beneficiaries?

· What kind of information is required to carry out these activities? And in what detail?

· How much of this information already exists? How much has to be generated, and over what time-frame and with what regularity?

· What methods exist for obtaining the rest of the information - assessment methods, monitoring, consultation directly with the population?

· What precise and necessary role will registration fulfil?

· What is the capacity needed to carry through the task?

· What are the legal requirements for registration?

· Is it necessary to register?

· Who should be involved in the decision making process? It should not be donors alone.

Plan the registration - setting objectives, coverage, and content; ask:

· Who will represent the relevant populations and how, in practical terms, will they be involved?

· What authority and legitimacy will they have when, and if, critical, and potentially divisive issues arise?

· What precisely is the registration to achieve?

· What information do you need to implement your programme? Do you require ration cards, for instance?

· When is the information required by? Is it all required immediately, or just some e.g. is an estimate of numbers sufficient to proceed? Over what period of time will the various stages of registration take place?

· What will registration signify for the person registered, and for those ‘screened out’, or who applied for registration, but who failed the criteria?

· What entitlement will registration bestow?

· How will that entitlement be protected - to avoid fraud, and mis-registration by intent or error?

· What criteria will be used for deciding who is eligible for registration and who is not? What is the basic unit - family, household, individual, group (e.g. for return to an area)? Will those to be registered have to present any documentation - passports, ID, birth certificates, etc. Will exceptions be made?

· What is your population, and what proportion of it should be registered?

· Is there intermixing of various populations and therefore any difficulties singling out the target group? Are host families involved? and what impact will their inclusion/exclusion have on the registration?

· How will you ensure that it is an ongoing exercise? Look to the future and ensure that the initial exercise is constructed in a way that can feed into a continuous process - this includes setting up an appropriate computer system. Will cards be replaced if lost and how etc?

Decide how the process will be carried out, on the basis of the answers to the questions above, asking:

· When should the registration take place, how long should each of the stages take and when should the cut-off date for all registration activities be. The central question is whether it will be ‘early’ or ‘late’, and when no more registrations will be accepted. If a registration is to be carried out ‘early’, then basic background information (demographic profile, locations, flows, etc.) may not be sufficiently clear. If ‘late’, distribution systems will be in place and hard to adapt, so vested interests and reliance on inaccurate numbers may have been established in the programme.

· In what order will the different stages - preparation, fixing, registration, and analysis, verification and continuation - be carried out? Will it be one exercise, or will it happen over stages, with different information being collected at each stage (fixing being just one of these)?

· Will it be necessary to fix the population (in some way to identify - not register yet - the target population)?

· Will processing be undertaken by individuals or by batch?

· Where will the registration take place? Safety and distance from the border for refugees must be a consideration.

· Will alternative or complementary techniques be used?

· How will those screened out of the process be dealt with? This could be a major source of discontent and disruption.

· Will there be stages (‘forward capture’, reception centres)?

· What system will be used to verify accuracy?

· How will the process be continued to cover new cases?

· What significant problems can be anticipated? Prepare for risks such as fire, fraud, crowd problems, sabotage etc.

· What remedial action is in place or might be needed to deal with such problems?

Assess existing and necessary resources for collection of the information and analysing stages, asking:

· What resources and conditions are necessary for at least minimum conditions of security and comfort?

· What is the geographical, physical layout required, and the implications?

· Will it all happen as one exercise, or, as the initial registration goes ahead, will other layers and levels be fed into it?

· What is the political environment, i.e. the degree of support to be expected from local authorities, level of agreement, and resources made available?

· What human resources (use professional teams, including females), material, physical resources (including hard and software) and financial resources are available?

Conduct physical and basic services planning (of the locations):

· Map/assess your population distribution

· Map physical locations for registration, identifying concentrations.

· Assess the number and type of installations - for safety, security, health, sustenance and comfort. Are there legal requirements?

· Design, map installations.

· Build or adapt as required.

· Equip as required.

Identify and prepare staff and participants. Go through the normal human resources cycle:

· identify the tasks required as per the number of people to be registered, the number and dispersion of locations, type of registration to be conducted (manual, automated, politically sensitive, etc.), and the time-frame (these four variables will determine the number and types).

· Assess the number and profile of people to conduct those tasks.

· Identify them - give particular attention to the participation of the population themselves - ideally they should manage it.

· Prepare and train them etc.

· Monitor, perhaps through a trial or ‘dummy run’.

· Adapt human resources to needs - training, hiring and firing, etc.

· Integrate/manage staff from outside the direct programme (secondees, government officers, ‘beneficiary’ participants etc.).

Design the registration forms, cards, etc. - define precisely the information to be collected:

· Set out the categories of information to be collected, and the broad categories to be excluded, or to be collected through alternative methods.

· Design the registration forms, cards, etc. - give guidance for this, either here or in an annex i.e. how to design forms efficiently and effectively - see the Rob Stevenson materials for WFP.

· Prepare and inform the population to be registered (this should all be done with the involvement of key actors, principally the beneficiaries, and authorities).

· Decide on the messages and information to be disseminated - why is the exercise happening, and for whose benefit? what will be the outcome and the benefit for them?

· Decide who will be targeted, when and where.

· Decide how information and messages will be disseminated, what media will be used - written, visual, oral.

· Design, prepare and distribute newsletter/newspaper, leaflets and posters.

· Design, prepare and diffuse radio/TV programmes.

· Design, prepare and dispatch teams with megaphones.

· Test the effectiveness of the message - use a method that is adequate for the situation.

· Adapt the information campaign accordingly.

Fix (this may or may not be necessary, according to the way registration is to be carried out)

· Choose the method, which should not insult or debase, and be in accordance with standards of human dignity (distribute cards, dip fingers, etc.).

· Do the fixing (detail the steps).

Register (collection of the information)

· Convoke the population as per the agreed time plan (each category, including special groups, when, where, etc.).

· Register - manage the process, the centres, the staff, the people, etc.

· Review at a certain stage to check for the need to adapt. This should include some spot checks to identify attempts at fraud, including by the staff conducting the registration.

Analyse and process the information

· RRN Good Practice Review 3 pointed out the dearth of guidance on how “to interpret or how to make sense of the information (collected for and during an assistance programme)”. This underlines the obvious, but surprisingly frequently overlooked need to decide before one does something, exactly why one is doing it. A serious weakness of aid operations, particularly emergencies, is the information overload, and the inability to set priorities among categories of information to be collected and how to process it. Registration is no exception.

· Centralise the information.

· Verify receipt of all forms and documentation.

· Process it according to the agreed criteria and process.

· Present it.

Data Processing Tools

· It is important to try to structure the data-gathering so that it can be quickly fed into a computer and analysed. Processing of surveys can be done using simple spreadsheet computer software (e.g. Lotus 123), or more appropriately, data processing software. And also give tips for information processing.


· According to the system you have already decided upon.

· On the basis of initial results, determine if any specific action is required (repeat apart of the process?).

Manage the screened out, those that do not fit the definition of the target population

· Those that have applied for registration, or have gone through the process, but are not accepted, have to be managed. Depending on the situation, this may be a source of difficulty, even conflict.

Continue the process, especially for new arrivals, or other groups

· Are there other phases or levels of registration that need to be led into - such as in the case of Jordan where, depending upon the outcome of the initial registration to enter Jordan, the people were then channelled to their own governments for registration for exit.

· Repeat the process/cycle.

· If it has to be adapted as an ongoing process, then decide how.