Developing mobile technology to develop social structures

Birth registration is made possible using mobile phones, so advancing civil rights, following a technological research initiative.

VTT and Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), an organization specialized in peace processes and conflict resolution, are cooperating in a project utilizing information and communications technology in developing countries. VTT has been carrying out a midway evaluation of the CMI project, which aims to apply information and communications technology in communities and societies recovering from crises.

 

Mobile technology for better governance

CMI's GooB (Governance out of a box - population registration in Liberia) initiative is developing a system of mobile phone-based birth registration in Liberia. Registration of birth is a pre-requisite for the fulfillment of numerous civil rights. In a country with rough, difficult-to-cross terrain and weak governance structures, registering a birth is often a challenge for both the parents of the child and the public sector.

Registration via mobile phone makes it possible for an increasing number of children to appear on official birth registers. The initiative will support the capacity of Liberia's central government to deliver the basic services its citizens need, and thus consolidate the development of peace in Liberia, which is recovering from a protracted and brutal civil war, and is one of the world's poorest states. Child mortality is as high as 100 in every 1,000 newborn children and life expectancy is 58 years. The new technology could play a significant role in reducing poverty and facilitating the emergence of more stable social structures in the country.

In carrying out a midway evaluation, VTT's task is to scrutinize the development of the new technology as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by its exploitation. VTT will carry out the midway evaluation of the project in cooperation with the University of Helsinki. The GooB initiative is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation. The project will be realized in cooperation with the Liberian state and Nokia Oyj.

Midway evaluation of the CMI initiative is part of VTT's growing activity in Africa. VTT has been carrying out projects with partners such as the African Union and the UN's Economic Commission for Africa.

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