By Calum Handforth, Insights Manager (Digital Identity); Matthew Wilson, Senior Insights Manager (Digital Identit
Official proof of identity is fundamental to an individual’s ability to enforce their rights and secure access to a wide range of vital services such as healthcare, education, mobile connectivity, social protections and financial services. For this reason, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has set a specific target to provide every person with a legal identity, including birth registration, by 2030.
Of the one billion people in the world who are unable to prove their identity, more than 230 million are women and girls who live across the Commonwealth. The absence of identity documents can be both the cause and effect of prevailing gender inequalities; therefore, widening access to identity will also help the international community effectively address Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Uganda has recognised the importance of identity solutions in enabling effective policymaking and service delivery. Linked with these extensive mobilisational efforts, there are a series of identity components that are becoming increasingly essential aspects of life in Uganda. Efforts are also underway to explore how to integrate the wider functional identity setup in the country. Access to, and use of, identity documentation among women can be negatively affected by a lack of perceived benefit, lack of knowledge of identity-linked services relevant to them as women, and a lack of financial resources to avail of these services.
This case study explores the current identity and mobile landscape in Uganda, and highlights where women and girls are known to face unique challenges compared to men when accessing or using identity documents, mobile services, and a wide range of other public and private sector services that are linked to their identity. The case study also identifies a potential use case that would allow mobile network operators (MNOs) to leverage digital identity services to deliver relevant social and economic impact to women and girls.