UNICC Assists UNHCR with Migration of IrisGuard to Microsoft Azure

14 November, 2019

Photo: UNHCR

Cash assistance in the blink of an eye

​UNICC recently helped the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) migrate the IrisGuard biometric registration and identification system to Microsoft Azure cloud services.

IrisGuard is a critical system used in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to deliver services to refugees and forcibly displaced populations. It operates by scanning any enrolled refugee or inter-displaced person, then having them select a refugee database transaction like cash assistance, medical care, food voucher assistance, resettlement repatriation, among many others. Refugees can safely enroll in the system from the five countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria, at hundreds of UNHCR-supported IrisGuard stations.

UNICC provided assistance to UNHCR in the form of project management and solution architecture services. UNICC also coordinated the collaboration of multiple suppliers and internal teams to deliver a successful migration and to help create the IrisGuard.

IrisGuard is a key component of the Common Cash Facility used by multiple agencies to provide assistance in the form of cash and goods to beneficiaries.  It is also part of the UNHCR PRIMES (Population Registration and Identity Management Eco-System) applications.

PRIMES is an integrated service platform, which serves as a single data entry point for all digital interaction between UNHCR and its partners. PRIMES made it easier for refugee registration, case management, monetary assistance, as well as reporting for partners.

Photo: UNHCR

In the future, an integrated PRIMES trust and service platform will be the single entry point for all digital interaction between UNHCR and partners with the individuals who are registered. PRIMES is an enabler for:

  • Registration (biographic and biometric) and certification
  • Case-management (including the principal Protection aspects: Refugee Status Determination, Resettlement, Repatriation, Legal and Physical Protection, Child Protection, SGBV and others)
  • Assistance (cash and in-kind)
  • Data management, including reporting and sharing

PRIMES consist of a centralized repository of all relevant identity data, visible and editable – by UNHCR staff and UNHCR partners with appropriate access rights – from anywhere. Certain self-service functionalities for those registered are being developed.

Operational business requirements at UNHCR led to a need to rapidly re-host the IrisGuard application in the cloud. The project kick off meeting was held on the 3 June and the target date was set for the migration on 29 June 2019. To date, this project has helped over 2 million refugees and other forcibly displaced people obtain the services gravely needed while in-transit.

UNICC’s assistance with UNHCR’s IrisGuard project has provided an invaluable service to the refugee and other displaced populations, who although face some of the greatest risks while in transit, can now receive basic services with dignity and efficiency.

For more information about IrisGuard, read “Iris scan system provides cash lifeline to Syrian refugees in Jordan“.