A unified beneficiary registry (UBR) provides a single source of information on households eligible for social support services. The Malawi UBR is a key output of the Government’s efforts to strengthen the delivery of social support services under the National Social Support Programme. The UBR is expected to strengthen the coordination of social support programmes and ease the challenges encountered in the targeting of beneficiaries, which have resulted in higher inclusion and exclusion errors in past interventions.
The UBR is expected to facilitate processes for the registration of potential beneficiaries, as well as targeting and data-sharing mechanisms, among social support programme implementers to ensure that the right beneficiaries receive social support services at the right place and time.
What is a unified beneficiary registry?
The definition of UBR varies from country to country and depends on the context in which the registry is applied. However, a frequent definition found in the literature defines it as a common platform where household information is entered, stored, shared and reported. A UBR provides a one-stop reference point for information on households eligible for social protection interventions. This instrument identifies and categorises households based on their socioeconomic status by bringing together household variables, parameters and rankings. The UBR also provides a sharing platform where social protection programmes can obtain household data for their specific programmes.
A UBR has two components: a database that contains variables of households and a data management interface that interactively works with the data stored in the registry’s database. Depending on the use of the appropriate application and technology, the UBR enables the flow and management of information for key processes within the social protection sector.
What is the Malawi Unified Beneficiary Registry
For the purpose of guiding the development and implementation of the Malawi UBR, the registry is defined as “A national platform used for entering, storing, accessing and sharing household data to facilitate respective programme implementers in targeting, linking, monitoring and producing periodic reports on the outreach and implementation of social support programmes in Malawi”.
Objectives of the Malawi Unified Beneficiary Registry
The specific objectives of the Malawi UBR are to:
Capture, store, access, retrieve and share beneficiary data for social protection programmes
Enhance and strengthen the coordination of social support programmes at the national level through need-based distribution of social protection programmes
Strengthen the harmonization of targeting approaches and processes for the beneficiaries of social support programmes at the national and district levels
Ensure tracking of the enrollment and graduation of beneficiaries
Functions of the Malawi Unified Beneficiary Registry
It is important to note that the development of the Malawi UBR reflects the design, operational processes and procedures of Malawi’s National Social Support Programme. The UBR is supporting the programme’s operational manuals by the use of appropriate technology. The UBR’s functions are currently designed to respond to the specific needs of the Social Cash Transfer and Public Works programmes, but are also a central source of information for beneficiaries of all other social support programmes.
The registry will perform the following functions:
Register potential beneficiaries of social support services
Establish a common data-sharing mechanism between the single registry and programme specific systems
Manage and monitor targeting processes and monitor the compliance of implementers with programme conditions
Strengthen graduation tracking for those who should be removed from a programme after they are no longer eligible and monitor that households receive all the services to which they are entitled
Produce periodic data on social protection outreach and implementation
Support data collection and analysis for upward reporting, learning and accountability
Establish a consolidated registry of beneficiaries of social protection, to be updated regularly
Who will benefit?
A significant challenge facing social protection in Malawi is the fragmentation of programming, which has led to duplication and inconsistencies in the operation and implementation of social protection interventions throughout the country. In fact, the Government of Malawi has called for harmonisation and integration across social support services. It recognises that, in the past, “interventions have tended to be created in a fragmented and uncoordinated manner”.
The UBR will streamline and coordinate social protection programming and bring stakeholders together in an effective partnership to agree on the way forward for social protection at both national and local levels. It will also lay the foundation for linkages between programmes, which will improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as coordination between national and district levels.