Together, UNHCR, Microsoft employees and other partners developed a mobile registration system to provide more than half a million refugees with new identification documents. This system evolved into the proGres database, which today has been implemented globally to help those displaced by war, insecurity and natural disasters.
proGres is a standardized system for refugee registration, replacing dozens of old, incompatible databases. Through proGres, refugees are registered systematically upon arrival, improving camp management by accurately determining the size and composition of refugee populations, and helping with assistance needs.
The database is used for the administration of the refugee status determination process. To grant refugee status, in most cases, host countries require an initial eligibility interview and application, follow up interview, committee review and final government approval - all of which are tracked via proGres. Once status has been granted and refugees are in the system, proGres has the capacity to issue identification cards, record addresses for refugees living outside of camps, issue voluntary repatriation forms and identify individuals with special needs like unaccompanied minors or the elderly.
proGres currently operates in more than 300 camps and 75 countries, including 32 in Africa, and has provided assistance to nearly 5 million refugees. proGres has also helped many countries to be able to produce more detailed data on their refugees, aiding UNHCR in its mandate to tracking and report refugee situations globally.