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Free-to-use civil registration system OpenCRVS adds features, configuration

Upgrades to make CRVS ‘beating heart’ of gov services
Free-to-use civil registration system OpenCRVS adds features, configuration

The open-source, free-to-use civil registration and vital statistics platform OpenCRVS has introduced substantial developments in its latest version, 1.2. New features include advanced search within records, easier integration for other government departments and performance monitoring for registration staff.

Version 1.0 was launched in June 2022 and versions 1.3 and 1.4 are already timetabled for later in 2023. The team is also progressing on integrations with MOSIP and OSIA.

Often overlooked due to the more exciting new features of identity schemes, civil registration is vital for the identity schemes. Biometric Update’s series The ID16.9 Podcast examines the issues around CRVS as part of the reason why more than a billion people in the world have no legal ID. Listen to the episode on OpenCRVS recorded when it launched.

New features

Identity authorities using the platform will have more ways to tailor it to their national requirements and gain more insight into how their system is working.

The new User Audit function provides a way for registration authorities to understand where any bottlenecks are forming in the system, down to the performance of individual staff including registrars. It will also help spot fraudulent activity.

Further new tools allow a granular breakdown of registrations such as by time, location and individual registrar. (Pakistan’s NADRA developed a similar system, even ranking performance in their high-tech control room.)

The search system has been improved to make it easier to find a record when only fragments of an entry are known, improved by fuzzy logic. The advanced search features also allow greater nuance when searching for somebody with a common name. An API will enable other authorities such as a passport office make advanced searches of the register.

“Civil registration really should be the beating heart of government service delivery, because it provides trusted sources of data on births and deaths, then marriages and divorce,” said Edward Duffus, director of Product Strategy and Sustainability at OpenCRVS, speaking at the launch. To help achieve this, one of the new features is called Easy Integration.

The tool gives the system administrators easy ways to integrate systems to make a country’s CRVS more useful across services, the company says. A new export function allows monthly outputs of data, rather than yearly. All personally identifiable information is already removed.

Countries can customize how their systems are structured, according to how their country is organized, such as by counties, districts and states. To help with the storage cost of all the files created, attachments such as photos are now saved in MinIO, an open-source storage system.

Cameroon and Madagascar

The system is attracting more attention and pilots are underway. Cameroon began a project in August 2022, funded by Germany’s GIZ and South Korea’s KOICA. Cameroonian authorities are configuring and field-testing the platform to develop a national database, with plans to roll it out to 20 municipalities.

Madagascar’s Government Digital agency has configured OpenCRVS for use in the country and is conducting a Proof of Concept to explore its applicability for further rollout with technical assistance from OpenCRVS whenever needed.

Divorce, hackathons and Bangalore

The upcoming versions of OpenCRVS will include marriage and divorce registration and introduce more advanced deduplication processes.

Integration with MOSIP (Modular Open Source Identity Platform) is already on display at the platform’s Experience Centre in its home at the IIITB in Bangalore. Further demonstrations are expected at the 2023 ID4Africa event in Nairobi. There will also be OpenCRVS hackathons at the event, with more details to follow.

Duffus said that the free-to-license OpenCRVS is also being developed for compatibility with OSIA standards, the Secure Identity Alliance’s open standards-based system launched at the ID4Africa general meeting in 2019.

Further integration with G2PConnect, for welfare payments, and social protections standards organization Convergence Initiative are underway.

Version 1.3 is expected by the end of May, v1.4 in September 2023.

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