Evidence-based targeting through predictive technology

Contact details

Submitted by: Dominic David Maliro

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.unhabitat.af

Introduction to the project 




2018-2021 (3 years)


The Sustainable Human Settlements in Urban Areas to Support Reintegration in Afghanistan, or SHURA, app is an ongoing program technology development to anchor reintegration of afghan citizens returning to the country and those displaced into urban areas. The goal is to showcase a predictive technology in the eligibility and vulnerability ranking of beneficiary case analysis. While typical humanitarian needs-based targeting depends on a poverty and special needs indicator, the SHURA app matches self-selecting assistance applicants who can meet the PD305 legal framework obligations. This Presidential Decree on Land Allocation is encouraged by the Housing Land and Property Task Force. The goal is to support sustainable, fair and transparent land allocation efforts. The SHURA technology generates automated data regarding an empty region and missing population. This can contribute to the development of new sustainable urban reintegration settlements.

The biometric based technology enhances the government capacity to scale-up the program across all provinces in Afghanistan –given its flexibility to adjust to context variables and its optimization of the linkage between applicants and available, suitable, state-lands for reintegration allocations. The app also encourages the people-driven redevelopment impetus. This improves their resilience and co-production in host-cities. 

The success of the SHURA program is both dependent on successful partnerships with government ministries responsible for delivery; and the social and cultural safety-nets of Afghans helping Afghans. Equally important, is the integrated data-sharing ability of the app. It is leveraging on existing databases to ensure equity of state resource allocation, accountability and transparency. The technology for the program uses UN-Habitats’ unique access to urban data to deliver the flagship reintegration settlements. This is a mix of wealth, inclusiveness, self-sustaining and resilience enhancing.

Main activities of the Good Practice

  • Development of eligibility and vulnerability scoring criteria in coordination with the government, UN agencies, citizens and technical working group.
  • Pooling of spatial and humanitarian databases and linking to state-land inventory data index.
  • Incremental housing designs linked to citizens’ adaptive ability and capacity to engage in a homeowner-driven process.
  • Linking masterplans to the legal spatial governance structures.
  • Adoption of resilience, dependence, vulnerability, livelihoods and wellness indicators into the predictive technology algorithms for automated beneficiary selection.
  • Technology based settlement development monitoring.
  • Bio-profiling to ensure accountability and corruption mitigation in assistance allocation.
  • Automated advisory report generation from the integrated technology system.  


  • Ministry of Urban Development and Lands (MUDL)
  • Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MORR)
  • Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG)
  • Displacement & Return Executive Committee (DiREC)
  • Provincial Development Committees (PDC)
  • European Union
  • Government of Denmark

How challenges were overcome 

  • Fear of biometric information collection has been a key concern, especially in regards to data protection within the conflict context.
  • Consensus building around the vulnerability scoring has taken two years and has yet to be finalized.
  • The humanitarian-development and peace nexus are in conflict in determining vulnerability considerations – especially on the question of how long is an IDP or returnee vulnerable and the very specific inclusion-exclusion criteria that eliminates minors, traditional poverty and PSN indicators.
  • Finding suitable state-land within the city cores has been challenging – the program has had to adjust to peri-urban settlements establishments, whose economic opportunities are premised on critical mass potentials for co-production.

Results of the Good Practice 

  • Instant eligibility reports for applicants and government decision making.
  • Mitigation of corruption in state resource allocation.
  • Efficient management of beneficiary records, documentation and accountability.
  • Automated data upload for settlement management and service delivery linking housing, land, infrastructure service and governance.
  • Artificial Intelligence processed documentation to inform the scale-up and scale-out of the Urban National Priority Programs for the government.
  • Centralization of all resource and human databases into one data center.