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Table 3 The main identification systems used in cash transfer programmes in Somalia

From: Harmonising data systems for cash transfer programming in emergencies in Somalia

Identification system Strengths Weaknesses
Functional ID: an ID system established to address a particular need such as delivering cash assistance Enables humanitarian agencies to uniquely identify the recipients of their cash assistance. Cannot facilitate deduplication across agencies since every humanitarian agency issues its own identification numbers.
Leads to use of multiple ID cards, which is inconvenient for recipients of assistance.
Phone numbers registered to receive cash transfers Phone numbers are unique—no identical numbers.
Phone numbers are linked to recipients’ biodata during subscriber identity module (SIM) registration.
Phone numbers have a personal identification number (PIN) for security.
Recipients can have multiple phone numbers, thereby creating fraud/duplication risks.
Requires regular updating since recipients change phone numbers.
Some recipients share phone numbers. In such situations, the numbers are no longer unique identifiers.
Some recipients sell or lease their SIM cards for immediate cash needs, thereby defeating the purpose of the cash transfer programmes.
Biometric technology Provides a reliable verification and identification system for CTP by reducing duplication risks. High cost of acquiring the necessary software and hardware.
Associated with data privacy and protection risks that must be addressed (see next section).
Requires adoption of a common standard for collecting and saving biometric data (not yet adopted in Somalia) to ensure interoperability.