Hélène Smertnik and Savita Bailur

This blog is one of five blogs on our work on children and the tension between identification and identity in a digital age. Other blogs include:

  • Identification and identity for children in a digital age
  • Identification, identity and sexuality for youth in Brazil
  • Refugee identification and identity for children in Lebanon
  • Biometric identification and identity for children in Thailand
An engaged group of students, ages 15 to 18, at their high-school in Kisumu, Kenya’s third biggest city. Photo credit: H. Smertnik

At Caribou Digital, with the support of UNICEF, we undertook a multi-country research study to understand the interplay and challenges between identification, identity, and digital ID for children in their journey from 0 to 18 years…


Hélène Smertnik and Savita Bailur

This blog is one of five blogs on our work on children and the tension between identification and identity in a digital age. Other blogs include:

  • Identification and identity for children in a digital age
  • Identification, identity and sexuality for youth in Brazil
  • Biometric identification and identity for children in Thailand
  • Financial inclusion, identification and identity for children in Kenya

At Caribou Digital, with the support of UNICEF, we undertook a multi-country research study to understand the interplay and challenges between identification, identity, and digital ID for children in their journey from 0 to 18…


Hélène Smertnik and Savita Bailur

This blog is one of five blogs on our work on children and the tension between identification and identity in a digital age. Other blogs include:

  • Identification and identity for children in a digital age
  • Identification, identity and sexuality for youth in Brazil
  • Refugee identification and identity for children in Lebanon
  • Financial inclusion, identification and identity for children in Kenya

At Caribou Digital, with the support of UNICEF, we undertook a multi-country research study to understand the interplay and challenges between identification, identity, and digital ID for children in their journey to adulthood, from 0…


Helene Smertnik and Savita Bailur

“Social media is something that is used by everyone these days. Rather than sell my products at the market I think it’s better to use social media.” Sarah, owner of an online beauty business in Sri Lanka.

Sarah is one of the 15 online workers we interviewed in Colombo and its outskirts, to discuss the opportunities online work have opened for women and the role of identification credentials (ID).

Caribou Digital’s When ID works for women’s research aims to understand the relevance of ID for women and work. To what extent does ID lead…


Hélène Smertnik and Savita Bailur

By and large, Sri Lanka is a country where ID does work for women. Access and ownership of ID credentials is prevalent in Sri Lanka where people obtain ID at the age of 16, when passing their school exams. This is possible thanks to a good education system as well as efficient ID registration processes that include more vulnerable groups (including domestic workers). The counterpoint of this functioning system is that ID is almost taken for granted, as people do not face ID challenges when accessing services and work.

In this context and as part…


Hélène Smertnik and Savita Bailur

In March 2019, Caribou Digital launched our When ID works for women research. Our aim was to understand the relevance of an ID for women and work. Work and income have the ability to provide a sense of economic independence for women. To what extent does ID lead to a wider range of income generating opportunities, or safer work, or the ability to protect and grow income for women?

To explore this, we looked at the segments of domestic workers, factory workers and online workers in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — two countries with a…


Hélène Smertnik and Savita Bailur

In August 2019, we conducted fieldwork in Colombo, Sri Lanka to understand the role of ID for women and work, as part of the Commonwealth Identity Initiative. Our research explores the role of ID in both enabling women to access a wider variety of income generating opportunities and to retain and control their own income.

We collectively spoke with more than 80 people (mostly women) in and around Colombo, including domestic workers, garment factory workers and online workers. We also interviewed employers in these three sectors and development experts.

This is the first blog of…

Hélène Smertnik

Research consultant at Caribou Digital

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