Biometrics for Food Distribution

14 March, 2022

With the proven benefits of increasing accountability and transparency in previous refugee registration exercises, advanced iris biometric technologies are continued to be used by the Word Food Program (WFP) to deliver the right food to the right refugees, making sure that they get the food assistance they are entitled to. Oruchinga, Uganda has been the first-ever refugee camp to enjoy the new food distribution system using iris biometric verification.

To collect monthly food assistance, a refugee household now simply presents its ration card, which is linked via barcode to an electronic database, and a fingerprint or iris scan. If the matching is successful, that household can claim their food from WFP staff. Previously, refugees in Uganda were collecting and sharing food in groups of 30 people. Households with women and children needed to fight and scramble for food. Hence, they might not receive enough amount of food that they need. Now they are very satisfied with the new system and biometric checks. The new procedure helps protect refugee rights, bring back the efficiency to the system and ensure eligible refugees receive the right amount of food.

Iris Biometrics for Food Distribution

The process was started in March 2018 and nearly 7,000 individuals had been biometricaly scanned within a week. Uganda is currently one of the countries with the highest number of refugees in the world, hosting approximately 1.4 million refugees and asylum-seekers. And the WFP plans to scale up the system to 180 food distribution sites across Uganda by the end of the year. Matt Nims, acting director of Food For Peace has labelled it “gold standard,” and encouraged WFP to make it the standard for delivering food assistance to refugees everywhere in the world.

IriTech’s IriShield BK 2121U, a powerful and cost-effective solution plus its durability and user-friendliness, is the only iris scanner chosen in this project. It is our great honor to contribute partially to the success of this project which will ultimately transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people all around the world.  In another note, before this deployment, IriShield BK 2121U has being used by the UNHCR to register hundreds of thousands of refugees in different countries. And its recent biometric refugee verification exercise in Uganda is the largest one in history up until now.