Foundational identity, functional identity, registration, and enrolment are different things. So are projects and programmes. And we tend to confuse them all.
- Foundational identity is a legal identity which establishes you exist and tends to be issued by the government (e.g. a birth certificate)
- Functional identity tend to be identities for a single use case and issued by an organisation (e.g. a library card, frequent flyer card, etc.)
- Registration is the process of providing information about oneself for the purposes of obtaining an identity document
- Enrolment is the act of joining a specific activity
- Project is a set of specific, singular activities to deliver a tangible output. They tend to be short term.
- Programme is a group of related projects managed together to achieve benefits not attainable by themselves. They tend to be longer term.
Because we tend to use registration and enrolment interchangeably, we do both at project level and neither at a programme level. This is partly a result of a silo-ed, narrow project only view which most humanitarian organisations work with. And this wastes time, resources, and is a missed opportunity.
If we would strip out the registration function from projects and situate it in programmes. And if we manage the information separately. We could see a step change in our insights. And would save time for those we seek to serve.
Community members could register with us once and then could be enrolled in the appropriate projects. If those projects needed additional specific information they could collect it appropriately.
It seems obvious and common sense. But sometimes a slight separation of functions can open up significant possibilities. However, the hard bit is getting project managers to let go.
Do it anyway.