Putting civil registration at the heart of government service delivery

What if we could register the births of all children and safely share this data across government so that vaccinations, education and social protection could be delivered universally and equitably?

Read on for exciting breakthroughs on how we can make this a reality…

Civil registration systems around the world are broken, leaving around 1 in 4 children under 5 unregistered and without any form of legal identity. At OpenCRVS, we are on a mission to turn this around and ensure that “every individual on the planet is recognised, protected and provided for from birth”.

We have taken the latest in open-source technologies and built a highly secure electronic civil registration system that is freely available for countries to use and adapt to their own contexts. It’s an example of a digital public good (DPG). The system makes registration easily accessible at the community level in even the remotest locations with no internet connectivity - we believe this is a game-changer for achieving universal birth registration.

We have known for a long time that interoperability is key for government digital systems and for foundational data systems like civil registration in particular. In fact, at the heart of effective government service delivery there needs to be an interoperable civil registration system. Only once we have accurate data on all births, for example, can we ensure inclusive access to health and education services, provide equitable access to social protection and recognise individuals with a formal legal identity.

“Interoperability describes the extent to which systems and devices can exchange data, and interpret that shared data. For two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that it can be understood by a user.”
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

The recent G2P-Connect initiative really helped me see how powerful this data sharing can be. In this project, we connected a number of DPG systems (OpenCRVS, MOSIP, OpenSPP, OpenG2P, Core-MIS, Sunbird, mojaloop and Mifos) to create an open-source stack that would create an end-to-end social protection and payments service. This all sounds very technical until you see just how these services can make a huge difference to people's lives.

Let’s take a look at the value of DPG interoperability from a young mother’s perspective:

See this example come to life in this video:

This example highlights the important role that OpenCRVS can play for social protection, in this case the provision of a child grant to Ama so that she can properly care for her daughter. As we increase birth registration rates around the world, with effective interoperability we can help millions of young families get the social assistance payments they are entitled to quickly and safely.

So how do we build on the G2P-Connect proof of concept and help governments around the world take full advantage of DPG interoperability?

  1. We must think about digital transformation from the perspective of the value it provides for individuals (like Ama) rather than to merely support administrative functions.
  2. We need to ensure that DPGs are well documented and use open-data standards to facilitate quick and easy interfacing with other systems.
  3. We need pioneering countries to adopt connected DPGs and realise the benefits, so that others may quickly follow.
  4. We need regional centres of excellence working alongside the DPGs to ensure that high-quality implementations can be delivered and maintained with local expertise.
What do you think? Please get in touch at team@opencrvs.org to explore opportunities to work together and make this reality.

Authored by Ed Duffus (Director of Product Strategy and Sustainability)