UNHCR, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the UN Refugee Agency, is a United Nations program with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.
Resettlement Statistics Report (RSR) is a web app designed for UNHCR and its field staff who collect daily information related to refugee migration. This application facilitates data collection input and presents it to users in a focused, meaningful and visually appealing way.
Before the RSR app, the staff at UNHCR had significant challenges collecting, standardizing and analyzing crucial data. The resulting delay meant that refugee statuses were being withheld. With no standardization in terms of data collection, UNHCR experienced issues with data integrity which compounded delays with monthly reporting.
Data is now grouped into 3 categories: Country of Origin, Country of Asylum and Country of Resettlement. All data from 2003 onward is now available and added to once a month by UNHCR staff located in countries such as Jordan, Syria, Congo, Russia, etc. Information about individuals and families who submit applications for resettlement is collected and uploaded into the system.
UNHCR staff members (called “Focal Points”) are entitled to edit only the information related to the country in which they are operating while still being able to view information for other countries. As most modern-day workers are comfortable with Microsoft Excel, Hexis has made it possible to enter data into a standardized Excel form which the app automatically converts into the format required for the data visualization. This functionality has drastically decreased the possibility of errors as the solution no longer requires duplicate entries.
Apart from people in the field, users of the RSR app also include UNHCR administrators who validate the data entered and approve it for further use and publication. The app can generate global or regional reporting and the Hexis interface design is simple and intuitive.
The more available information is, the more valuable it is, and this app makes UNHCR information available to all. With the existing Resettlement Statistics Report app, we have designed and developed the Resettlement Statistics Query (RSQ) web app for UNHCR. The app is public and people can search and use UNHCR data freely.
RSQ has two components, and the first one is landing. Landing is completely adapted to the app’s users, it is simple to use and interactive. When the users land on the page, the first thing they see is the interactive graph showing global migration in the past 5 years. Usually, that intrigues the users so they search for other information such as e.g. places people most commonly migrate to (spoiler: Australia and USA). All data is visualized in the form of charts to become more clear – but more interesting as well – so users don’t tend to leave from the page quickly.
The second RSQ’s component are filters. By using different filters, the users can reach specific information that interests them. The filters are submissions or departures, year or time range, and country of origin, country of asylum or country of resettlement. By combining the filters (and deactivating some) people can find numerous information. Finally, the information can be presented in a different form of charts, according to the users’ preferences. It all serves to prove that information – besides being useful – can be appealing.
UNHCR had a very clearly defined KPI at the beginning – compliance rate. This refers to how many countries involved will use the system or upload reports. Since the release, in January of 2017, up to date, a 100% compliance rate has been recorded.