To do away with the use of Excel Sheets, vulnerability to fraud and irregularities during the distribution of Non-food item (NFI), UNHCR Brazil, Representative (Jose Egas) in Brasilia and the Head of Sub Office (Oscar Sanchez Pineiro) in Boa Vista thought it efficient to roll out the Global Distribution Tool in the Operations. To roll out the GDT, the Head of UNHCR Sub Office in Boa Vista (Oscar Sanchez Pineiro) and Registration and Identity Management Officer (Francesca Spadiliero) contacted HQ to get an expert on the ground to spear-head the process. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that was not possible. HQ decided that they could remotely work with a focal person in Brazil that would be the lead on this. I was contracted by the Head of Sub Office in June 2020 as a Operations Data Management Officer from the Danish Refugee Council to effect the roll out.
The Operational Data Management department was responsible for the roll-out and I headed this exercise. HQ created a training database and the live database for the Brazil Operations. First thing was to conduct ‘Training of Trainers’ (TOT). Next, the Registration Associates and the Senior Registration Assistants conducted training for partners in the shelters.
GDT stands for Global Distribution Tool and it is a Client Server application that combines the functions of Progress Database to that of the BIMS to produce an Assistant plan which is used to conduct distribution effectively and efficiently for POCs. During distribution, a POC brings his/her ID that is used to Identify him/her in the first instance and then proceeds to the biometric verification using the Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS) which is linked to both GDT and proGres
GDT digitizes the entire distribution process, making it virtually impossible for frauds and human lapses that occurred during the previous manual distribution method using Excel sheets.
The Global Distribution Tool (GDT) was rolled-out to UNHCR and its partner AVSI in Rondon, A shelter in Boa Vista, primarily for the tracking and recording of Non-Food Item (NFI) distribution by UNHCR and its partner, with an initial successful distribution of soap to 143 Venezuelan families. Implementation to all other shelters in Boa Vista and Pacaraima was planned for January 2021. In 2021, we started the roll out of proGres and Global Distribution Tool in all the shelters alongside the partners. The Biometric Identity Management System and Global Distribution Tool are invaluable tools to UNHCR and its Partners for food, NFI, CashAssist distribution.
The GDT using ID and fingerprints instead of Excel sheets in distributing food and non-food items secured equal distribution and was welcomed and appreciated also by the people living in the shelters.
Due to the ongoing political and socio-economic developments in Venezuela, many Venezuelans are moving over the boarder to Brazil. The statistics show an increasing number of Venezuelans applying for asylum or residency permits since 2015 and according to the Federal Police there is now an average of 400-500 Venezuelans entering Brazil each day. Many of them are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance such as food, shelter, transportation, health, and protection.
Most Venezuelans enter into Brazil in the northern state of Roraima and the majority continue to the state capital of Boa Vista. The state of Roraima has few economic opportunities available and is geographically isolated from the rest of Brazil by rainforest, making onward movements difficult and costly. The number of people has surpassed the local absorption capacity and nearly 6,000 people are housed in shelters in Roraima.