Editorial

5 large NGOs looking at using Digital Identity to help deliver secure payments

‘We can no longer do this with a spreadsheet and beneficiary ID cards; we need something more sustainable, something people can establish, create, hold, and access their identities’

Posted 31 January 2019 by

The Red Cross is to explore the potential of Digital Identity to aid in more effective ways of dealing with humanitarian crises.

What’s interesting is that while millions of vulnerable people receive aid from the Red Cross every year – mostly in food and essential household items – the charity also provided cash to 1.27 million people in 2017, which is why Identity has moved to the forefront of its thinking.

“The humanitarian community exists in a bubble, so access to an existing community of experts and new technologies to help us better serve communities in crisis is an amazing opportunity,” said Nathan Cooper, one of Red Cross’s Senior Adviser.

Red Cross is being joined by four other other large Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) – DECODE, iRespond, Rohingya Project and Tykn.

“We hit the realisation that we can no longer do this with a spreadsheet and beneficiary ID cards; we need something more sustainable, something people can establish, create, hold, and access their identities. It brings dignity, choice and economic stimulus to the local markets where humanitarian aid is needed,” added the organisation’s head of global cash distribution Caroline Holt.

The initiative is being supported by self-sovereign tech vendor Evernym, which is providing free access to its ‘Accelerator’ technology for free instead of its usual $50,000 a year.

Accelerator provides technology, tools, education and support for building Digital Identity solutions, said the company’s Timothy Ruff, the company’s CEO, who added:

“[The] ID for Good initiative gives NGOs that are on the frontlines of some of the world’s most pressing demands for digital identity an opportunity to participate in a technological revolution at no cost.”

Ruff’s company states thatSelf-Sovereign Identity – SSI – is “the latest digital identity model which allows any person or organisation to maintain complete control of their identity and utter independence from intermediaries.

“It is safe, secure, portable and cannot be taken away. This makes it an ideal model to safeguard the identity information of the disenfranchised.”