New technology is making things slightly easier for some Syrian refugees.
The United Nations World Food Programme, which takes charge of food needs for refugees, has just come up with an innovative project that helps people at a refugee camp in King Abdullah Park in Jordan.
The technology uses refugees' irises to confirm their identities, and subsequently provides them with food. Refugees previously used their eyes to register themselves with the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Assylum-seekers get a monthly food allowance once they are registered in the system’s database and by scanning their iris, they can obtain a supply of food, as payment automatically gets deducted from their monthly food allowance.
This system expedites the payment process and ensures greater safety, since one person cannot use up another’s allowance. Electronic payment cards, which were previously used for the same purpose, are subject to theft, loss and misuse.
For refugees, who are always on the move, this new technology is surely extremely beneficial. Shopping for groceries is as easy as selecting items and blinking into a scanner to make payment.
“Refugees are moving all the time. They are coming in and out of different countries. Having a physical thing like electronic payment cards is sometimes difficult, though the technology is very effective and has worked very well. We knew we could take it to the next level,” Dina El-Kassaby, regional communications officer for the World Food Programme, told Mashable.
“Sometimes, just like anyone, refugees would forget their PIN numbers or misplace their cards,” she added. “Or they would leave the country and leave the card behind. In some cases, cards would be stolen or misused. This iris scan technology just cuts all that out.”
The iris scanning technology is currently only functional in the King Abdullah Park that houses around 1,000 of the 650,000 refugees living in the country. However, El-Kassaby expects the system will be soon employed in other refugee centers and areas with high refugee populations.