Biometric Registration of Displaced Population in Juba Enhances Accountability in Humanitarian Aid

Juba – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) team in South Sudan and partners recently concluded a biometric registration exercise which resulted in a total of 32,113 displaced people living in Juba’s two protection of civilian (PoC) sites being registered.

Biometric registration is a widespread practice in South Sudan, which allows for a more accurate picture of the population living in a displacement site and enables agencies to plan assistance in a more targeted and accountable way.

IOM’s biometric registration database in South Sudan includes over 700,000 people. The Organization is working jointly with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to further expand the use of biometric data to avoid duplication of assistance and to ensure that those receiving aid are indeed the intended beneficiaries.

The new Juba PoC registration numbers show a significant drop (18%) from earlier figures dating back to a previous registration exercise, conducted in October 2016. Almost half of the decrease is due to a recent relocation of 3,379 people conducted from Juba PoC 3 site to a temporary site called Mangateen following intercommunal tensions. The registration data indicated that more than 3,600 individuals left the PoC sites for unknown destinations.

Hundreds of thousands of people sought safety in UN bases after the breakout of conflict and widespread violence in South Sudan in 2013. These areas became known as protection of civilian sites. Established in early 2014, the Juba PoC sites host mainly people displaced from Juba town and locations in Unity.

PoC 1 site remains the smaller of the two PoC sites in Juba, with a total of 7,515 people currently living there, while the PoC 3 site hosts 24,598 individuals. Fifty-five per cent of the overall population are children and youth under the age of 18. Fifty-two per cent of the population are men and boys, whereas 48 per cent are women and girls. The average household size is 3.6 people (excluding 6,105 people, who registered independently rather than as a household unit). Average household sizes may be even higher, as families sometimes split and register as multiple separate households for a variety of reasons.

“The success of this exercise depended greatly on close collaboration between different humanitarian partners and the United Nations Missions in South Sudan (UNMISS),” said Tya Maskun, IOM South Sudan Head of Operations. “This will go a long way to ensure that vulnerable displaced populations get the assistance that they need,” added Maskun.

IOM began the exercise in early September with a two-day temporary registration (T-REG), which enabled the Organization to quickly account for the people residing in the sites. Through fingerprint registration, IOM created a database of those who could take part in the full registration exercise conducted between 14 September and 16 October 2018. The use of T-REG for the initial stage of biometric registration is a new methodology and a marked improvement over previous uses of ink and tokens.

IOM is working with partners to prepare a detailed report analysing trends in displacement at the Juba PoC sites in comparison to findings from the 2016 and 2018 registration exercises. The report will also draw on the findings of a complementary protection assessment undertaken by protection partners during the biometric registration exercise and is expected to be available before the end of the year.  

IOM’s biometric activities in South Sudan are supported by Department for International Development (DFID), the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and WFP.

As of July 2018, OCHA reported that there were approximately 1.8 million people displaced in South Sudan. IOM continues to coordinate with relief partners to provide multi-sector humanitarian assistance to displaced and conflict-affected people across the country.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon in Juba, Tel: +211912379843, Email: