The use of ActivityInfo for data collection and real-time data analysis for the Protection, NFI-Shelter Cluster, and internal UNHCR programmes by UNHCR in Yemen
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UNHCR in Yemen provides life-saving aid to displaced Yemenis, refugees and asylum seekers across the country.
UNCHR in Yemen leads the Protection, the Shelter/Non-Food Items/ and Camp Coordination and Camp Management Clusters, and the Refugee and Migrant Multi-Sector in Yemen. They work together with other national and international partners to respond to the needs of the conflict affected population.
In 2015, UNHCR in Yemen started using Activityinfo for gathering all the information related to the activities of the Protection Cluster. Today they use ActivityInfo for data collection and information management in three different cases; in the Protection Cluster, in the Multisector Cluster and for other UNHCR programmes.
With ActivityInfo they achieve the real-time data analysis of up-to-date data and minimize duplicate effort which is critical in information management.
We spoke with Mr. Saddam Al Hubaishi, Senior Data Management Assistant in UNHCR in Yemen and learnt more about the challenges of data management and the way ActivityInfo has been used in the organization and the Clusters. We also found out how Locks and Folders in ActivityInfo are used to facilitate data collection and data management for UNHCR in Yemen.
UNHCR in Yemen
Following the unprecedented levels of humanitarian crisis during the first half of 2017, 20.7 million people are in need of humanitarian or protection assistance.
The UN Refugee Agency in Yemen provides life-saving aid to displaced Yemenis, refugees and asylum seekers across the country continually responding to the protection needs of the conflict affected and displaced population.
UNHCR partners with a number of national and international nongovernmental organizations, as well as UN agencies, such as UNICEF, WFP and WHO, in order to deliver more comprehensive services to displaced populations. UNHCR leads the Protection, Shelter/Non-Food Items/ and Camp Coordination and Camp Management Clusters and the Refugee and Migrant Multi-Sector Cluster.
In addition, UNHCR works with key line Ministries to expand and enhance local response capacities, with the aim of mainstreaming health and education services for refugees into existing national systems.
The National Protection Cluster in Yemen is a coordination mechanism of organizations implementing protection activities. It aims to safeguard the respect for and protection of the rights of individuals affected by the current crisis in Yemen, with a particular emphasis on persons with specific needs.
The Protection Cluster in Yemen is composed of the National Protection Cluster with two subClusters: the Child Protection sub-Cluster and the SGBV sub-Cluster.
The sub-Clusters report to the Protection Cluster. The Protection Cluster is led by UNHCR, the Child Protection sub-Cluster is led by UNICEF and the SGBV sub-Cluster is led by UNFPA.
ActivityInfo facilitates Information Management for Cluster activities
UNHCR in Yemen started using ActivityInfo in 2015 for the activities of the Protection Cluster and today they are using the platform for the activities of the Protection Cluster, the Multi-Sector Cluster, for the Shelter/NFI Cluster and for other UNHCR programmes.
These activities aim at assisting persons of concern, refugees, asylum seekers by collecting information for all the activities related to these persons. In 2018, UNHCR in Yemen works with 15 Partners in the Protection Cluster and with more that 15 partners in the other UNHCR Programmes.
In 2017, some of the Partners of the main Protection Cluster were OHCHR, YFCA, YWU, DRC, CSSW, Al Amal and ADRA. In the Protection Cluster both UN organizations and national organizations work together.
In the Protection Cluster, ActivityInfo is being used as an online common Database to track activities that are ongoing or completed. The findings of the completed activities are synthesized from this Database. This helps a common understanding of the ongoing situation.This information can also be used for quarterly or joint planning and reviews.
Mr. Saddam Al Hubaishi, who is a Senior Data Management Assistant in UNHCR in Yemen, and also provides trainings on ActivityInfo to other organisations participating in the Clusters and to UNHCR partners using ActivityInfo, notes:
“I think ActivityInfo is very useful for us and facilitates our work. With partner turnover, we are frequently required to conduct training for new staff to ensure they are aware of how to share and update on their activities. In February this year I conducted a training for UNICEF staff managing the Nutrition and Education Clusters on ActivityInfo.”
By keeping all the information available online and with the use of ActivityInfo the Data Management officers and Cluster Coordinators manage to understand the gaps in the information that is being collected.
At the same time, they manage to use their resources efficiently by minimizing multiple redundant efforts to record the same thing. Also, being web-based, ActivityInfo enables the real-time analysis of up-to-date data.
How UNHCR in Yemen benefits froms specific ActivityInfo features
By using the Locks feature on specific activities, the gathered data remain untampered unless a partner specifically requests to make a change on submitted data.
This way, these requests are being managed in a controlled way. Mr. Saddam Al Hubaishi, Senior Data Management Assistant in UNHCR in Yemen, explains:
“After some discussion with the Management for these frequent requests from partners for updates on their reports, we agreed that we will accept these requests and unlock ActivityInfo so they can update or correct their data.”
In February 2018, ActivityInfo introduced the Folders feature, a feature that has been specifically requested by many users, including UNHCR in Yemen, to make searching for a specific Form quicker. Using the Folders feature in ActivityInfo, UNHCR in Yemen assigns specific permissions to Partner’s users. This way users can quickly focus on the specific Forms they want to work with and save time.
Mr. Saddam Al Hubaishi notes:
“This feature makes it easier for our partners to just see or to go through only 3 or 5 Forms instead of going through hundreds of Forms. So really thank you for this powerful feature.”
Data collection remains a challenging task especially because of the frequent movement or change of staff in every organisation. Still, ActivityInfo as a tool, strives to facilitate the technical aspect of that.
By moving from Excel sheets and the Standard Reporting format to ActivityInfo, UNHCR in Yemen made data collection easier.
“We can say that ActivityInfo makes it easier for us to collect information on activities and indicators but we still have some challenges in terms of partner staff turnover.” states Mr. Saddam Al Hubaishi.
All in all, overcoming challenges and responding to the increasing needs of the Yemeni population is a daily mission for UNHCR in Yemen.
Information management has a particular role to play in that. ActivityInfo is used for information management to facilitate the tracking and collection of indicators and activities of the specific Clusters in Yemen and enables real-time analysis of updated data.
By developing features based on users’ requests, ActivityInfo aims to make data management easier and quicker to support humanitarians in their challenging mission.
We would like to warmly thank Mr. Saddam Al Hubaishi, Senior Data Management Assistant in UNHCR in Yemen for providing valuable insights for the creation of this Case Study.