OpenCRVS - a global identity software solution
Ensuring every individual is recognised, protected and provided for from cradle to grave.
Pitch us on your solution
Currently 500 million children have no official form of identification. If they don’t exist in the eyes of the law they can’t be protected by the law, provided for, or gain access to important public services.
For people to count, they must first be counted, and that’s what a Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (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.
We have built OpenCRVS, a digital open source CRVS system designed specifically for low-resource settings. It will provide a robust foundation for a digital e-government ecosystem of the future.
In Bangladesh, OpenCRVS will provide a unique identity from birth that empowers every individual to easily access services, operate in the expanding digital economy, and fulfil their social and economic potential.
Film your elevator pitch
What is the problem you are solving?
Birth registration rates are only 3% in Bangladesh. With an estimated 3,000,000 children born each year across Bangladesh, all of these children are at risk of being invisible and as a result, vulnerable.
Through the further development and implementation of OpenCRVS, these children can be provided with a birth certificate and a unique ID - a passport to protection and social and economic empowerment.
An effective CRVS system provides the sole continuous source of population data for governments to make critical policy and planning decisions. With Bangladesh’s incredible growth and population movement, having real-time demographic data is critical.
Quality education, healthcare, and employment opportunities can’t be adequate without understanding the Bangladeshi population, when, where and how many people are being born or where and why they are dying. The demographic data that OpenCRVS will provide to key decision-makers will enable effective and efficient service provision to all.
Current lack of investment in appropriate service design and robust technology combined with lack of community awareness compound the problem.
This is a long-term solution that assists the Government of Bangladesh in reaching their target of 100% birth registration by providing appropriate technology and raising community awareness on the importance of civil registration.
Who are you serving?
We work to serve every individual born or who dies in Bangladesh. We are doing this by ensuring every birth and death that occurs is registered, through a rights-based and empathetic approach. The civil registration data can be actively used to make decisions that will effectively protect and provide for all citizens.
We have taken a human-centred design approach to designing civil registration services, and subsequently the OpenCRVS product that supports these services.
The product reflects 20 years of experience working across Asia and Africa and observing and listening to service providers, family and community members, and government actors operating in the area of CRVS and legal identity.
We conduct continuous field-testing with end-users to ensure that their feedback and experiences are the driving force behind product decisions.
The solution addresses service providers’ needs by reducing the time and effort associated with conducting civil registration services, particularly through a simple and intuitive user interface.
The solution addresses the needs of civil registration customers by bringing services to the community via community health workers, who already engage with communities.
The solution addresses the needs of policy makers by providing access to easily accessible real-time population data.
What is your solution?
OpenCRVS is an open-source digital CRVS system that will be freely available to any government around the world. It is the only CRVS solution that has been designed specifically for low-resource settings, recognising the unique challenges that low and middle income countries face and the incredible need to recognise, protect and provide for every individual from birth in these rapidly changing and growing countries.
OpenCRVS will be used by the Government of Bangladesh to provide birth and death registration services. Marriage and divorce registration services will also be offered by OpenCRVS after a period of design research which aims to understand how marriage registration services should be offered in Bangladesh (recognising that official civil marriage rates are not even available due to their infrequency).
OpenCRVS has the potential to go well beyond the scope of traditional CRVS systems. We see OpenCRVS as a foundational identity and population data system which will support and maintain the integrity of many other service delivery, statistical and identity management functions. In particular, OpenCRVS will ensure that these functions are above all inclusive, providing a digital response to the global call to “Leave No One Behind” whilst promoting a rights-based approach to civil registration services.
OpenCRVS is designed according to our development principles:
- MODULARITY: Designed around “microservice” components, OpenCRVS suits every country’s scale, customisation and configuration needs by being modular, configurable & independent across the full stack
- STANDARDS DRIVEN: using open interoperability and data standards such as Health Level 7 FHIR v4 (ANSI Accredited, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) provide vendor neutrality
- SCALABILITY: Schema-less & document-orientated, containerised & distributed by Docker Swarm. Architected for flexibility, huge populations and continuous high traffic
- USE OF AUTOMATION: Development / QA and production environments, code testing coverage, networking, scaling and integration testing, all provision automatically using our CI/CD pipeline. We use Ansible, Travis, Jest, Cypress, Traefik & Dockerhub.
- SECURITY BY DESIGN: OpenCRVS is critical government infrastructure that safeguards the personal data of its citizens. We took care to follow best practices and have it independently penetration tested to UK government security standards
- DESIGN FOR POOR CONNECTIVITY: Architect-ed by designers, researchers and engineers used to field work, OpenCRVS supports low mobile reception & offline use
Select only the most relevant.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:London, UK
In which sector would you categorize your solution?
Our solution's stage of development:Prototype
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
Currently, over 100 countries are unable to have an accurate picture of their populations as they don’t have a functioning Civil Registration and Vital Statistics system. The data from CRVS systems could contribute to the effective measurement of 65% of the SDGs.
Despite their importance, current CRVS systems are not adequate and do not reflect country needs. Time and time again the same systems are badly designed in an attempt to solve one of the world’s biggest problems. One thing is clear, large scale digitisation investments have not lead to significant increases in global registration coverage. Through Plan Internationals’ 20 years of civil registration experience across the globe, we know what easy, accessible, and inclusive registration should look like and our innovative solution, OpenCRVS, provides a direct solution to this global development challenge. Our system works in every country and for every individual and is made freely available with no license fees or ties to software vendors. This innovation can be a challenger within a market that needs disruption and has the capacity to impact millions of individuals with a one-off investment
Our value proposition is that we create unique opportunities for governments to work with companies e.g. banks, by leveraging the insights that data visualizations from live vital statistics can provide. We believe public, private and civil sectors will all be able to increase capacities when a true reflection of their populations and trends can accurately be viewed.
Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?
Outcome: our overall goal is that children are recognised, protected and provided for from birth to death. We believe one of the most powerful solution to achieve this is the production of actionable vital statistics for government resource allocation and policy making, and legal documentation for every individual. We do this by addressing the supply and demand for civil registration, mainly birth and death registration but with an outlook to marriage registration.
Key outputs include:
1. A rights-based solution for civil registration and vital statistics, which is the creation of OpenCRVS and increases the supply of civil registration services that are inclusive to all
2. Free, standards-based, world class open source technology, which allows services to be delivered in community that increases access for all
3. Advocating for legal changes that allow a rights-based approach e.g. allowing single mothers to register their child without details of the father
4. Community behavioural change, we believe raising awareness of the importance of civil registration is critical to increase the demand
5. Our customisable, live data reporting and visual dashboard allows local, regional and national government officials to see immediate changes in birth and death rates and make investments or policy changes sooner rather than later. This is foundational to a developing country and making sure nobody is left behind.
Select the key characteristics of the population in Bangladesh your solution serves.
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?
We are currently serving the government of Bangladesh but as the pilot commences, within the two years we could well serve up to 3 million citizens through either birth or death registration services using OpenCRVS.
Within five years this could be many more millions.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
Government investment and deployment:
We hope in the next five years the Government of Bangladesh will remain a champion of civil registration and the OpenCRVS product will be invested in and deployed OpenCRVS product across the nation.
Digital Public Good:
We envision OpenCRVS as a global solution to civil registration that is the only rights-based and freely available open source product to address all countries' needs and leaves no-one behind.
Sustainability of product and program:
We partner with local talent including researchers, designers and developers, to ensure that the product responds to local needs and can be locally owned and maintained in the future. Local researchers and designers are engaged in design research from the beginning to ensure that the product and service reflects local needs. We benefit from their contextual knowledge and they learn the latest human-centred and service design techniques.
When local developers are available, our core team will work with them to configure the product as required and they are trained in how to maintain the product moving forward. Local companies can also join the OpenCRVS open-source community to contribute and learn on an ongoing basis. When appropriate developers are not available in-country, we look to work with partners in the region, establishing regional capacity to support implementations in a number of countries. We are committed to working and strengthening digital talent globally.
What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?
We are currently commencing a 2 year large scale pilot in Bangladesh and will require additional financial support to conclude the review of this pilot.
Additionally we require legal support as we move towards making the OpenCRVS software product itself a separate legal entity to Plan International.
The product itself will be made public and we have governments from other countries requesting scoping and potential implementation in the next few years. We need financial support to recruit additional team members to conduct these scoping assignments and design the adaptations specific to cultural, social and legal requirements in each country.
How are you planning to overcome these barriers?
Financial barrier: We are currently applying for multiple sources of funding and there is potential to develop aspects of the product into fee generating avenues.
Legal support: we currently depend on pro bono support which is terrific however as the next five years will see the development of the product and operations expand this support will need to be more concrete, we are applying for funding and the governance structure will include legal support.
Meeting demand: through the piloting of OpenCRVS in Bangladesh we continue to develop the core product ready for other countries' use and customisation. We are also in discussions with other implementing partners that can also adapt OpenCRVS to achieve universal birth and death registration.
If you selected “My solution is already being implemented in Bangladesh,” please provide an overview of your current activities in the region.
Our pilot is to commence at the direction of the Government of Bangladesh as of January 2020 in two sub-districts in Northern rural Bangladesh and an urban location nearer to Dhaka.
Select an option below:Nonprofit
How many people work on your solution team?
A digital technical team based in Dhaka is also being employed by the Government of Bangladesh and Plan International to deliver the pilot requirements for user testing and technical amendments during the pilot and hopefully ongoing.
For how many years have you been working on your solution?
Five years (Edward Duffus)
Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?
Plan International has over 20 years of experience in birth registration and all of that knowledge and experience has fed into the development and design of OpenCRVS.
Plan International has a unique and trusted relationship with the Government of Bangladesh for implementation.
The core team have decades of combined experience in digital solution building and implementation of large scale ICT solutions as previous consultants for Accenture. Our rights-based advisor has over 10 years of experience in child protection with a specific focus on gender.
With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?
We have a technical advisory committee consisting of representatives from Vital Strategies, Jembi Health Systems, UNICEF, World Bank, WHO, UNHCR among others.
What is your business model?
Key beneficiaries and customers are governments with a commitment to universal birth and death registration.
The customisation and upskilling of local digital teams will be a sustainable source of revenue for the product's core team.
What is your path to financial sustainability?
Sustained grants and eventual fee for service for scoping and implementation of program and services will generate financial sustainability.
Why are you applying to the Tiger Challenge?
We believe publishing OpenCRVS in the next 12 months is critical and we will appreciate support in sustaining this. We also require support in establishing a separate legal entity for the core product itself, OpenCRVS Foundation.
What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?
With what organizations would you like to partner, and how would you like to partner with them?