Beneficiary registration and tracking: The good, the bad and the ugly. Leslie Wingender and Alicia Imbody, Mercy Corps
This is a hands-on session to exchange experiences and examples of beneficiary registration tools and tracking systems. We will present several examples that highlight the consistent challenge, followed by a demonstration of the data flow for a new program that builds on past experiences from around the world. Participants will engage in a rich discussion sharing their own successes and lessons learned in an effort to improve our field’s effectiveness in this fundamental aspect of our work.
Mercy Corps has been working to survey existing beneficiary registration and tracking tools and technologies based on the diverse needs of our programs around the world, improve our related processes, and ensure these tools are well-integrated with our data management platform Tola for improved transparency and accountability. The goals of this session will be to share and document key challenges, best practices, and lessons learned from our collective experiences with beneficiary registration and tracking, and to demonstrate and critique the data flow for a new Mercy Corps program as a model solution for future programs. The session flow will begin with a brief introduction by the Mercy Corps presenters, followed by small group breakouts session to share 1) common challenges and lessons learned, 2) key components necessary for an effective database, and 3) guidelines to allow for the adaption for such a database to be effective in the environments where we work.
We will then review some of the lessons learned from specific examples of Mercy Corps past and ongoing programs in the Middle East and Africa, focusing on challenges and lessons learned that resonate with the experiences shared by the participants. After this review of good, bad, and ugly experiences, Mercy Corps will share the results of a recent survey of different technological tools that will facilitate this process and some key benefits/disadvantages of each, drawing specifically from Mercy Corps’ experience adapting the Tola Data M&E platform to meet diverse country program beneficiary tracking needs. Mercy Corps will then share the data flow for a new program in the Democratic Republic of Congo from the first interaction with beneficiaries in the field to reporting out program performance to headquarters and donors.
Finally, using the DRC data flow mapping example, we will facilitate a discussion and critique of this potential model solution based on considerations around data security, connectivity limitations, cultural considerations, and evolving technology. The outputs from the session will include a list of key elements that should be found in any beneficiary registration system and tracking database, a summary of the recommendations and lessons learned shared during the session, and a guide on how to adapt some existing tools and systems to diverse program contexts based on the specific criteria we will use to evaluate different options. Mercy Corps commits to sharing the products of this session with the broader community.
Alicia Imbody, Senior Data and Learning Advisor, Mercy Corps Program Performance & Quality. Alicia is the product owner for the Tola data management platform and is leading efforts to ensure integration between various external tools and systems for beneficiary registration and tracking to support the diverse needs of Mercy Corps’ global portfolio. She has over 10 years of experience in program management, monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning, with a focus on using technology and mobile solutions for evidence-based decision making and adaptive management. Alicia is based in Portland, Oregon and has experience living and working in over 60 countries around the world. More about Alicia here and at Mercy Corps.
Leslie Wingender, Senior Advisor, Mercy Corps Program Performance & Quality. Leslie works closely with Mercy Corps global teams to ensure quality M&E systems. Prior to joining the PaQ team, she was the Peacebuilding Adviser on Mercy Corps’ Peace and Conflict team where she supported country teams on the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of various conflict management programs in diverse contexts like Central African Republic, Colombia, Guatemala, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Yemen. She has led her team’s work on developing robust M&E tools for programs implemented in conflict-affected areas and provides technical support on conflict sensitivity, reconciliation, peacebuilding M&E and conflict analysis. Leslie holds a Master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in peace and conflict studies from University of California-Berkeley. She grew up in Bogota and Medellin, Colombia. Leslie speaks Spanish, French, and Arabic. She lives in DC with her husband and her two kids Eliana and Remy. More about Leslie here and at Mercy Corps.