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In developing this toolkit, we set out to co-create a set of resources for CSOs across the continent of Africa to use to foster a better public participation process for digital ID initiatives, with the understanding that this will be one of many resources that will contribute to the creation and maintenance of an inclusive digital ID system. Over the course of five months, developed this toolkit with representatives of governments in Africa, CSOs from across the continent and across sectors, and residents. This co-design approach allowed us to understand the unique and common challenges that CSOs face, and to test and iterate, creating tools for an inclusive and transparent public engagement process that goes far beyond a check-box exercise.


Through a three-phased project including design research, co-creation and prototyping, and refinement for dissemination, the team worked hand-in-hand with CSOs from across the continent to develop solutions tailored to their needs. 

















PHASE 1 | Design Research

During design research, the team used human-centered design methods with users from a broad range of backgrounds across Kenya to identify challenges they’ve faced during the recent roll-out of the new digital ID system, Huduma Namba, and envision a more ideal development and roll-out for future systems. Over the course of four weeks in Machakos, Kilifi, and Nairobi, our design research asked residents to describe their interactions with government, with CSOs, and with the Huduma initiative, surfacing insights about the value of digital ID for regular citizens, as well as how they might want to participate in government initiatives that will affect them in the future. By understanding residents’ current knowledge about the initiative, their perspectives on government and CSO responsibility, and their levels of civic education more generally, the team was able to surface a set of insights about how the public wants to be engaged in digital ID initiatives. 


Crucially, the team also worked with representatives from 22 different CSOs with mandates focusing on legal representation, human rights, protection, data privacy, and civic engagement at the local and national levels in Kenya to begin to understand their experience with the Huduma initiative and the digital ID initiatives in other countries.


Emerging from design research, the team identified that the most promising opportunities for CSOs to strengthen public participation fell into three main buckets:

  • Initiating new relationships and establishing credibility and trust with government entities, other CSOs, and residents;

  • Strengthening productive collaboration between CSOs, sector experts, and other key stakeholders in the digital ID ecosystem; and

  • Streamlining and simplifying the digital ID lifecycle so that it is accessible for all residents to contribute to in a meaningful way.


Methods used: 1:1 interviews, focus group discussions, a responsibility mapping exercise to understand resident attitudes toward the actors in the digital ID ecosystem, a future-facing exercise to envision a more ideal digital ID roll-out process, ranking/sorting exercises


PHASE 2 | Prototyping & Co-Creation

After speaking to residents and CSOs across Kenya, the team created a set of early sketches and 21 preliminary concepts for tools that CSOs might want to use to enable better public participation. These concepts were intended to prompt conversations with CSO representatives—in Kenya and beyond—about what type of support would be most valuable in each stage of the digital ID lifecycle. Through a series of co-design workshops with both CSO representatives and government officials, the team guided participants to critique, build upon, and provide feedback on the concepts, or create their own tools that would add value to the public participation process. These sessions had two main goals: to surface deeper insights about how CSOs, residents, and governments envision working together, and to narrow in on the most impactful set of tools that will enable stronger results. 


PHASE 3 | Refinement for Dissemination

The resulting set of ten tools were refined, tailored, and prototyped with civil society representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria, culminating in the seven tools included in the toolkit today. This deeply participatory process ensured that CSOs who have worked on digital ID initiatives in the past were leading the charge, and helping to build an environment for public participation that can be used in future ID initiatives. The focus of this phase was to ensure that the tools were context-agnostic, equipping CSOs from any country to pick them up and apply them to their country and population. 

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