This month GenKey’s Projects and Support Engineer, Frank Darko-Agyiri writes about his experience working on the Ghana National Household Registry project. He’s based in GenKey’s Accra office.
Last year the Ghanaian government embarked on an ambitious project to register all households across the country. The Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR) is a government initiative, part funded by the World Bank, with the aim to make a national database that can be used for multiple organisations and institutions. This includes programs for social development, poverty reduction, demographic expectations, healthcare, school systems, etc. The Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection appointed GenKey to lead the biometric registration as part of a consortium with partner, Esoko. The first phase of the project was completed in November 2016, covering the Upper West Region.
By Frank Darko-Agyiri
We started the registration process in October 2016. The first phase covered the Upper West Region, involving the registration of 138,000 households, across 11 districts. It’s an important project for the whole team as it’s the first time Ghana has compiled a clean and credible household register. We know that our work will help the government, NGOs and donor partners in their drive to improve the living standards of millions of people.
“GenKey’s registration tablets are handheld, mobile devices, customized specifically for GNHR.”
Before the registration process started, we spent days training the enumerators to use GenKey’s registration tablets. They’re handheld, mobile devices, customized specifically for GNHR. Our partner, Esoko built the front-end application, enabling the capture of biographic data and other essential information. Training the enumerators is one of the most important phases of the process as they’re responsible for each and every registration. There were 300 enumerators, 50 supervisors and 11 district coordinators working simultaneously across all of the 11 districts. On average, each enumerator registered 8 households per day, with each one taking approximately 30 minutes. That meant we had an ambitious target of 2,400 household registrations every day.
“Our job was to observe the registration process and solve any technical issues on the spot. That’s no easy task when working in remote locations with limited infrastructure.”
The process took two months, during which time me and the team travelled daily across the Upper West Region. Our job was to observe the registration process and solve any technical issues on the spot. That’s no easy task when working in remote locations with limited infrastructure. Our mission was to keep 300 registration tablets in operation, every day. We were prepared for every eventuality: battery problems, broken device screens, damaged SIM slots, OS issues, fingerprint scanner problems, missing or stolen devices. Whatever the problem, we were determined to make sure everything ran smoothly with no disruption to the data being registered, or time delay. With long days covering hundreds of miles, it’s no wonder GenKey’s team motto is ‘UNSTOPPABLE’!
“We all felt like “one GNHR team”. We developed bonds with the people of the region, employees from our partner company and the customer.”
It was tiring work, but also a lot of fun. My advice to anyone driving long distances in Ghana is: crank up the air conditioning, enjoy the scenery and get some good music on the stereo. Working on this project was an incredibly rewarding experience. We saw a side of Ghana that most visitors never get to see and we made a lot of close friends along the way. We all felt like “one GNHR team”. We developed bonds with the people of the region, employees from our partner company and the customer. But above all, what kept us going was a shared belief in the work we were doing. We kept those 300 registrations tablets in operation because we knew that we were ultimately helping some of Ghana’s most disadvantaged people to gain a foothold in society.
The GNHR project is a milestone for Ghana and for us it’s another big step towards our mission of helping to achieve, ‘Identity for all’.
GenKey are experts in biometrics. Together with partners they provide a full range of digital biometric identity products, used by governments, public institutions and businesses. With over 100 million identities verified, GenKey have a proud reputation in supporting developing economies in their need to build sustainable biometric identity solutions. GenKey operate globally, with offices in Europe, Africa and the US.