ID2020 Announces New Pilot Projects

Earlier this month, the ID2020 Alliance announced its first two pilot projects at its annual summit.

Both projects will provide digital identities — backed by biometrics — to vulnerable populations in particularly difficult contexts. One of these projects — led by Alliance partner iRespond in close partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) — will provide digital identities to the approximately 35,000 residents receiving IRC’s services within the Mae La camp on the Thai side of the Thai-Myanmar border. Initially, these digital identities, linked to individual users through iris recognition, will enable individuals to access improved, consistent healthcare within the camp through an accurate and secure electronic medical record. In the future, the same system may electronically document both educational attainment and professional skills to provide access to employment opportunities.

The second project will be led by Everest working in close partnership with The Indonesian National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) in the office of the Vice President of the Government of Indonesia. The project will facilitate the transfer of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) subsidies to beneficiaries by delivering them to a biometrically validated digital wallet, even to users who do not have a mobile device, over a transparent and low cost blockchain. The goal of the pilot is to modernize delivery, reduce financial leakage, and enable banking services through financial inclusion.

Both pilots target particularly vulnerable populations, for whom the introduction of digital identity can have a tangible impact on everyday life.

“The population within the Mae La camp, which initially fled state violence against civilians, has experienced extraordinary trauma,” says Larry Dohrs of iRespond. Donors have steadily cut support for these camps, so that food rations now approach minimum standards for maintaining health. Through this pilot, we plan to work with these individuals to reduce the barriers they face, initially through improved healthcare access and records, and to ensure that these improvements can provide benefit outside of the camp as well.”

The Everest pilot targets economically disadvantaged households — and primarily women — in Indonesia that suffer from the inefficiencies and lack of transparency of the current LPG subsidy program. The pilot aims to promote the use of safe, clean cooking fuel among these vulnerable households and to support gender inclusivity efforts by facilitating subsidy transfer to women and offering the potential for future services, including financial inclusion.

Critically, both projects offer the possibility for sustained and expanded benefit and access to add-on services through digital identity.

Beyond the initial use case of improved health care records and access, the iRespond pilot may be expanded to ensure secure and portable education, training and employment records, offering improved access to livelihoods across many possible pathways.

“Many camp residents were born inside the barbed wire perimeter and have never been outside of it. It is our intent that this project provides these people with the means to empower themselves, not only within but also outside of the camp,” said Larry Dohrs, Vice President of iRespond. “We hope that success among these tens of thousands of people can lead to opportunities for tens of millions more.”

Similarly, while the Everest pilot initially targets the inefficiencies and problems of financial leakage in the current LPG subsidy program, Everest will work with its integrated banking partners and the government to bring additional services to Indonesian citizens over the coming years

“For the aid recipient, we hope to make the process of receiving LPG subsidies simpler to understand, easier to receive, and impossible to lose, leading to improved livelihoods and independence. For TNP2K, we hope to make the process more effective at delivering to the targeted populations, more transparent, less costly and easier to operate. The LPG subsidy is one of the largest subsidy programs in Indonesia, so this project has the potential to be widely applicable to other aid programs within the Indonesian government. Economies of scale can be gained for future integration of other stakeholders and programs given the replication of many of these stakeholders within government services and other mass population programs.”