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Improving inter agency information management and coordination in humanitarian response
The International Organization for Migration and the Deloitte Humanitarian Innovation Program
Deloitte UK’s Switzerland Consulting practice (Deloitte) has been collaborating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to find solutions to improve the way camp managers communicate, coordinate, and deliver help on the ground during crises.
IOM is an international humanitarian organization focused on assisting populations who have been displaced from their homes due to natural disaster or conflict. As co-lead of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster* (CCCM), IOM is responsible for coordinating basic services such as food, shelter, and medical care provided by many actors to displaced populations living in camps. These actors include governments, local and international aid agencies, and local authorities. IOM also develops solutions to facilitate the return of displaced populations to their homes or to a permanent or more sustainable location.
To better meet the needs of displaced populations around the world, IOM strives to strengthen camp management activities. In emergencies, the situation on the ground can be chaotic and decisions must be made quickly to ensure people receive the vital support they need. IOM’s objective is to optimize the process by which crucial information for decision-making is exchanged between the different actors in the field to improve the speed of response to aid beneficiaries.
“Humanitarian actors are hungry for information at the outset of an emergency. They need to know what peoples’ needs are in order to design their operations. This means, however, that different actors often conduct multiple and similar needs assessments with the same disaster affected population. Such an uncoordinated approach to data collection is inefficient and hampers the implementation of an effective and coherent humanitarian response. We saw this in Haiti during the response to the 2010 earthquake. We are attempting to address this challenge through our project with Deloitte. In particular, we are refining the way IOM collects and shares data with other humanitarian actors to decrease the number of overlapping assessments conducted and ensure that the right information reaches the right partners at the right time,” said Nuno Nunes, the IOM Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster Coordinator .
A key focus for innovation was centered on enhancing IOM’s information management tool, the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which is used to gather and share information on the locations and needs of displaced communities. Deloitte’s specialists employed their skills in business process mapping, working with IOM to study, sequence, and map current camp management processes. Together they highlighted areas where collaboration between agencies could be improved, especially around information sharing. For example, process mapping workshops with Gender Based Violence (GBV) practitioners helped to identify the need for camp managers to monitor the number of post exposure prophylaxis kits (emergency medical response used to protect individuals exposed to the HIV virus) in a site, to better inform GBV actors on the ground on resources available.
IOM also requested support to improve data collected in the field to increase consistency between different DTM field implementations. Deloitte’s data analytics professionals adapted their knowledge of tools that are widely used in the private sector to best meet IOM’s needs. Together they created automatized tools to help field staff develop questionnaires incorporating minimum standards but which can still be contextualized. These tools will help facilitate more efficient and consistent data collection in camps across the different contexts DTM is implemented. As such, the data collected can be easily consolidated across missions and will then be used to facilitate global level reporting and analysis.
“The new tools will help enhance IOM’s preparedness to crises. They will not only enable us to start our data collection processes earlier, they will also facilitate quicker responses on the ground during an emergency, especially for those country missions that have limited resources and capacities,” said Nuno Nunes.
IOM is now in the process of launching a field pilot in Nigeria using the newly developed tools for enhanced data collection and reporting. This should result in more data driven decision-making processes and stronger cooperation with other actors involved.
Over the coming months, IOM will continue to employ process mapping in collaboration with other clusters, to better understand mutual information requirements and facilitate coordinated, effective and efficient humanitarian responses that have the potential to benefit the wider humanitarian community.
*Clusters are groups of humanitarian organizations (UN and non-UN) working in the main sectors of humanitarian action (e.g. shelter, health, etc.)
“The new tools will help enhance IOM’s preparedness to crises. They will not only enable us to start our data collection processes earlier, they will also facilitate quicker responses on the ground during an emergency, especially for those country missions that have limited resources and capacities.”
Nuno Nunes, the IOM Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster Coordinator