The world is facing an identity crisis. 500 million children have no official identification. They are invisible and uncounted. If they don’t exist, they don’t have rights, cannot be protected under the law, and struggle to access public services. For people to count, they must first be counted, and that’s what a CRVS system does, recording major life events like births, deaths, and marriages. A quality CRVS system is critical to a country delivering services, raising revenues, and progressing on more than half of the SDGs. Yet 100 countries do not have functioning CRVS systems: many are costly, paper-based, operate separately from other country systems, and not built inclusively to empower individuals to access their rights. We believe that by scaling a holistic digital registration model, we can aid two governments to register all births and deaths over the next five years, setting an example for other countries to follow.
Plan International USAwebsite: https://www.planusa.org/
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The world is facing an identity crisis. 1 in 7 people have no official identification and nearly half of these are children . The majority live in Asia and Africa. Without a birth certificate, uncounted people struggle to legally access public services like healthcare, education, and protection from child marriage. Without a death certificate, family cannot prove entitlements to inheritance and guardianship . For people to count, they must first be counted, and that’s what a civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system does, recording the details of all major life events, such as births, deaths, and marriages. This is bigger and more urgent than ensuring all individuals count; a quality CRVS system is critical to a country delivering services, raising revenues, and progressing on more than half of the SDGs . Yet 100 countries do not have functioning CRVS systems . On the supply side, most CRVS systems are manual and paper-based, yielding high administrative costs and poor data quality. They operate in isolation of other national identification, healthcare and social protection systems. Governments that digitize typically procure the system from proprietary software vendors with solutions that don’t reflect local needs, and have costly maintenance and upgrades. On the demand side, even when people, especially the rural and hard-to-reach, want to access a birth certificate, it’s costly in terms of time, money, and travel to do so. Many individuals don’t trust these solutions that aren’t inclusive and built for their needs, leaving them unable to truly access their rights.
With 100&Change, we can make a transformational impact on the world’s identity crisis. Plan International and partners have spent decades working on universal civil registration and have deep relationships with governments and communities throughout Bangladesh and Zambia. The time is right, the team is right, and government commitments are right in these two countries to register all births and deaths, directly impacting 7.5 million lives over the next five years and setting an example for other countries to follow. Our proposed solution is a holistic CRVS systems strengthening model. It is based on OpenCRVS, a universal, digital registration system designed for low-resource settings. As an evolution of our digital registration work, the solution addresses supply and demand-side challenges. The OpenCRVS technology can be accessible offline, provides clear and actionable data, and is open source and interoperable, meaning freely available and easy to integrate with existing health and identification systems. It’s implemented through frontline government infrastructure like community health workers, local health clinics, or mobile birth registration clinics to reach the most remote populations. It goes beyond technology, and is built for long-term impact by informing, educating and empowering individuals to realize their right to be counted. We believe linking CRVS to the national ID registry through biometric identification can give every person access to public services. Hence, our premier partner, Johns Hopkins University, will test this link and explore how this solution can provide meaningful health benefits for individuals, and how governments can target their services more cost-effectively.