Nethope Logo


March 17, 2020 10:00am
U.S. Eastern Time


March 17, 2020 11:00am
U.S. Eastern Time

Provided by:

ICT4D Conference Webinar Series

Digital ID: Closing the Identity Gap

More than 1.1 billion people still lack an official identity.

View the webinar recording

Resources Shared

More than 1.1 billion people still lack an official identity. The UN's Sustainable Development Goals aim to address this need by providing institutionally recognized identification for all by 2030. To address the challenges of increased digitization of data, digital registration systems and corresponding ID technologies have the potential to improve access to critical services, particularly for displaced people.

However, good digital ID solutions can be complex and difficult to implement. Given the many different actors involved including governments, data and IT providers, mobile operators, and financial services digital ID solutions also must meet high data protection and privacy standards and engage the various individuals in the design process.

During this webinar, part of a monthly series, digital identity experts from different backgrounds will exchange success stories, lessons learned, and practical recommendations.

Topics to be discussed will include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the criteria of successful use cases? What are the costs of generating digital IDs?
  • What are the technical due-diligence considerations to ensure inclusion and transparency?
  • What can we learn from the private sector, especially from financial inclusion tools?
  • What requirements should be included in the user provision model for these solutions?
  • Addressing data security to ensure safety of the identification records
  • Improving data privacy to ensure the compliance and explicit consent of the individuals for whom the IDs are created


Nicholas Oakeshott

Senior Registration and Identity Management Officer
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Alexandra Grigore

CPO & Co-Founder

Trond-Are Utle

Chief Digital Officer
Norwegian Church Aid

Cornelius Saunders

Program Manager

Rosa Akbari,

Senior Advisor, Technology for Development
Mercy Corps


Sonja Ruetzel

ICT4D Partnerships and Conference Manager
Catholic Relief Services

About the speakers

Nicholas Oakeshott, Senior Identity Management Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Nicholas is currently coordinating UNHCR’s work on Digital Identity and Inclusion. Between 2012 and 2017, he was UNHCR’s Regional Protection Officer working on statelessness in Southeast Asia. Before joining UNHCR, he practiced law, worked for NGOs promoting the rights of refugees and stateless persons in the UK and Europe, and was a visiting lecturer in law at several universities in the UK. He holds an MA in Modern History from Oxford University, an LL.M in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1997.

Alexandra Grigore, CPO & Co-Founder, Simprints. Simprints, a nonprofit tech startup developing biometric solutions to improve service delivery in the last mile, builds technology to radically increase transparency and effectiveness in global development, making sure that every vaccine, every dollar, every public good reaches the people who need them most. Alexandra has developed the first mobile, rugged, and ergonomic fingerprint scanner designed specifically for frontline workers as well as an end-to-end identity solutions for NGOs and governments in sub-Saharan Africa and South-Asia.

Trond-Are Utle, Chief Digital Officer, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA). Tron is working with digitalization across our global operation at NCA. He is responsible for digital strategy, process leadership on digitalization, tech strategy, and organizational digital literacy and capacity. He is an experienced business leader with 25 years’ experience from private sector and start-ups in the tech and media space. Tron has founded and run companies large and small, both alone and with partners, with a variety of purposes and activities from training, consulting, software development, web and social media, mobile apps, music, live audio, video, and virtual reality. He is interested in conversations on using technology to drive innovation in the NGO/humanitarian sector. The DIGID Project is a Technical Working Group member on a Digital Identity cross agency effort with Innovation Norway (

Cornelius Saunders, Program Manager, ID2020. At ID2020, Cornelius is responsible for the management of digital identity programs to ensure that their design and implementation is ethical, impactful, and measurable. He has previously conducted impact evaluations for Innovations for Poverty Action, global performance assessment reviews for the World Food Programme, and economic development research for Rand Europe and Endeavor Global. Cornelius holds a BA in Economics and Global Affairs from Yale University, and an MPP from the University of Cambridge. He currently volunteers as Chair of Metrics for the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Association.

Rosa Akbari, Senior Advisor, Technology for Development, Mercy Corps. Rosa helps field teams leverage lowest common denominator technologies throughout Mercy Corps’ programming, with focus on humanitarian cash and voucher assistance. Rosa has worked at the intersection of humanitarian response and technology for the past 10 years—previously working for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Dimagi, and the public sector. She is currently based in Beirut.

Sonja Ruetzel, ICT4D Partnerships & Conference Manager, Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Sonja is leading the ICT4D Conference on behalf of CRS and co-facilitating this monthly webinar series. Before joining the Global Knowledge and Information Management team at CRS, she was the Event & Programme Director of the Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF). Sonja has over 15 years’ experience researching and managing global conferences, training courses, webinars, as well as reports and whitepapers in a wide range of industries, including finance, legal, health, technology, public and non-for-profit sectors. Prior to following her passion for professional development events, Sonja worked as researcher and editor at consultancy Control Risks. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from University of Constance, Germany.

Twitter @NetHope_orgFacebook NetHopeorgYouTube iconLinkedIn Company NetHopeInstagram nethope_org