In a world’s first, UNHCR Jordan, Cairo Amman Bank (CAB), and IrisGuard showcase today the latest innovation in delivery of financial assistance to refugees. The EyeCloud project relies exclusively on UNHCR biometric registration data for enrollment in financial assistance program. The system sets a new standard in cash supported interventions that help refugee’s access financial assistance with speed and dignity, while reducing overhead costs and increasing accountability.
The EyeCloud project, built on the fundamental innovation of financial assistance through banking and biometric technology, has set a higher standard for next-generation assistance. Listening to the concerns of refugees, the need was clear for a cash program that reinforced their dignity by providing a means to access assistance without the traditional approach of having to queue for items outside an aid agency. This is particularly important for most vulnerable refugees, widows with children, the elderly, ill, and persons living with disabilities.
The additional benefits unveiled by today’s project means that refugees no longer need to go to the bank to register, which eliminates waiting periods for enrollment in the banking system. This new system will also eliminate the need for ATM cards.
By making full use of biodata gathered during the registration with UNHCR, this innovation will allow card machines to “talk” directly to UNHCR’s biometric registration database verifying the refugee’s credentials in the blink of an eye, without the bank needing to re-verify those identities.
“Everyone wants to make sure that the money entrusted to us is used in the most effective manner possible, and more importantly, addresses the needs of the refugees. Often we believe we know best, but in fact, financial support allows refugees to choose what is best for themselves and their families, in a dignified manner,” said Andrew Harper, UNHCR Representative for Jordan.
UNHCR will expand the EyeCloud service, to allow other humanitarian agencies to use their biometric system to provide refugee assistance. The new platform protects all biometric and personal information through the UNHCR secure encrypted database and network.
“We are privileged and excited to assist the UNHCR in providing our comprehensive EyeCloud iris recognition cash assistance service to Syrian refugees throughout CAB’s ATM network in Jordan. The effective EyeCloud financial inclusion platform permits the UNHCR to securely and efficiently authorize unbanked refugee populations to withdraw financial subsidies with ease, dignity, safety and respect, directly from ATM’s on the street, without a pin or a card. The EyeCloud platform is designed to extend financial inclusion for large populations of unbanked around the world,” remarked Imad Malhas, Founder and CEO of IrisGuard Inc.
UNHCR is committed to being more effective and efficient in supporting refugees, and we are leveraging the latest in technology to achieve this. The EyeCloud technology is already considered the most advanced refugee cash program, with Jordan leading in the field worldwide for refugees outside of camps.
On his part, the General Manager of Cairo Amman Bank stressed that the difficult living conditions experienced by refugees as not being the cause of such conditions but rather imposed on them as a result of wars and civil conflicts which require everyone to work to important their chances of living each according to his specialization and abilities.
He added that Syrian refugees are a category of the Jordanian society and financial services have to be delivered to them in a fair and transparent form and at reasonable costs in the intention of improving their social and economic conditions so as to achieve financial and social stability for this category, and this is consistent with the objectives of the Financial Inclusion of which to raise the level and quality of life for members of the society.