New Research on Identification, Biometrics & Social Protection

23 Jan 2013 - 10:00

The CSSR has received funding for a project on the uses of new technology in cash transfer programmes. Across Africa, governments, donors and NGOs are promoting cash transfer programs as effective means of poverty alleviation. These forms of social protection are viewed as promising ways to meet human development goals and, in some cases, political or human rights in themselves. Indeed, social protection programs represent one of the more significant forms of public service delivery in Africa today, though the political ramifications of their implementation are only starting to receive sustained attention. This new research will specifically address the ways in which beneficiaries are being personally identified. In some cases, existing identification systems - such as voter registration in Lesotho - are utilized, but in others, entirely new systems are required. Increasingly, worries about accuracy and fraud have motivated the use of biometric identification - such as in South Africa where more than 10 million social grant recipients are currently being enrolled in a new biometric initiative. Kevin Donovan is the researcher on this project, and will be working with Jeremy Seekings. The funding is from the International Development Research Centre in Canada.