The Sustainable Development Goals call for the end of extreme poverty and preventable newborn deaths. To achieve these goals we need to be able to accurately measure who we have reached and—critically—who we haven’t. Simprints’ system overcomes these challenges by ensuring accurate identification of any individual, regardless of access to formal ID.
99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, the vast majority of which are preventable. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of four check-ups before birth, however only 39% of all mothers are receiving these visits due to challenges in identification and accountability. Biometrics provide a powerful tool to identify patients, instantly finding the right record with the tap of a finger. Simprints is working with BRAC in the slums of Dhaka to ensure every mother and child have access to care.
Teacher absenteeism is a huge bottleneck in delivering education to all, especially poor and marginalised communities. Research from MIT has shown that attendance monitoring can cut absenteeism over 20% and boost graduation rates by 40%. A simple fingerprint can be the difference between students learning and empty classrooms. Simprints is working with the Impact Network in Zambia to improve attendance tracking for teachers and students, ensuring access to education is a reality for the communities they serve.
Mobile data collection has massively improved the speed that researchers and NGOs can gather critical data on the front lines. However, the identification bottleneck reduces quality and prevents organisations from consistently linking respondents across time. Biometrics can help bridge that gap with robust, reliable data collection in even the most far-flung communities. Simprints is working with Dimagi and Possible in rural Nepal to link their 30,000 beneficiaries across mountainous communities with a consistent ID.
Microfinance has penetrated nearly all corners of the developing world. However, screening borrowers who take multiple loans remains a key industry challenge, helping drive the market collapses in Bosnia, Nicaragua, and Andhra Pradesh. Randomised control trials by Yale have shown that biometrics can increase repayment rates from 44% to 85% among high-risk borrowers, and research at the Cambridge IfM suggests Simprints could help drive down interest rates and save microfinance institutions $25m a year.
An overwhelming body of evidence shows that immunisations are one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions ever known. Yet still in the developing world 1.5 million children die of vaccine preventable diseases every year, accounting for 17% of deaths in children under 5 years old. Simprints is partnering with VaxTrac in Benin to design better biometric hardware and software for NGOs and Ministries of Health fighting to save lives through better vaccination coverage.
Developing countries lose billions of dollars a year to corruption and the misdistribution of aid. A World Bank study in 2011 found that only 41% of grain handed out for the poor through Indian food programs reached its intended target, and estimates put the loss of other subsidies at 20%—costing the government $10B a year. But what if every claim required a fingerprint taken at the point-of-distribution? Simprints is partnering with NGOs and policy makers to fight corruption and make sure aid reaches its intended targets.
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