Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is being used in Cambodia to help ensure fewer children miss out on being registered at birth. Around 25% of all children under 5 years of age in Cambodia do not have a valid birth certificate, leaving them vulnerable to trafficking or exploitation. One of the reasons for this is that communes run out of the documents required to register newborns and there was no routine system in place to request them. This would often result in delays requesting new documents and long periods where communes didn’t have any stock, meaning families wanting to register births would have to be turned away and asked to wait. Many wouldn’t return.
To help solve this issue, UNICEF Cambodia together with General Department of Identification (GDI) set up a pilot IVR platform using a combination of RapidPro and the cloud communication channels Twilio and Nexmo. This solution would, for the first time, help ensure communes would never be out of stock and babies could be registered as soon as possible – a vital protection method for children.
Each month commune clerks report the number of forms and/or books in stock either by responding to the automated monthly calls initiated by RapidPro or by calling the system. The data is then analysed by RapidPro. If the numbers of forms or books in stock are below a certain threshold, RapidPro will automatically notify the district level by SMS and the province level and GDI by email. The district officers in charge of re-supplying forms and books receive SMS notifications on communes that need restocking, helping to ensure communes will be equipped to register all children.
RapidPro is being used all over the world in a variety of ways to assist children and families, supported by UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre (GIC). The GIC acts as a centre of excellence that is powered by a growing global network of UNICEF offices, specialists and allies dedicated to using technology that can have a large-scale impact on the lives of children.