Pakistan: a simplified registration procedure facilitates faster flood relief
Many people in Pakistan lost everything to the floods. A customised register helps people to receive social benefits easily in crises.
Crisis situations call for rapid assistance – without a lot of red tape. This was clearly illustrated recently by the flood disaster in Pakistan: the floods in August 2022 did not affect only those people who already relied on state support, they also left others who were not yet in receipt of state benefits with nothing. Many lost all their belongings. However, to receive social welfare benefits, people affected by the flooding must be registered. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been providing support here. Working on behalf of the German Development Ministry, it is advising Pakistan’s Government on restructuring its existing static registration system to enable households to report their own needs.
In the past, the authorities updated the register every five years using a complex national survey. There was no way for people to report changes in their circumstances between updates – with the result that they were not considered eligible for assistance. That has now changed so that they can report amendments to their data themselves at any time if their household needs state support.
Protection throughout the country
Self-registration has been possible at 624 centres nationwide since November 2022. The driver was the flood disaster that caused many people to fall below the poverty line. GIZ equipped the centres with furniture and office technology. It also worked with software developers to get the IT system needed for the registration procedure up and running. A total of 1,248 women, two per registration office, have been employed to welcome visitors to the centres. They themselves receive or have received support from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), which the Pakistan Government launched to provide social protection. Their job gives them an employment contract and an income. It involves giving people information about the registration process and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. This relieves the pressure on the counter staff, enabling them to process around 500 enquiries per day and check eligibility.