What is the
Who is the
guidebook for?
Three key
What is the guidebook?

Photo Credit: Plan International

The Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Digitisation Guidebook (CRVS-DGB) is an online resource that provides step-by-step guidance for countries to plan, analyse, design and implement digitized systems and automated processes for CRVS.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has the potential to provide transformative improvements in CRVS systems based on its ability to extend registration coverage, standardise and streamline civil registration and vital statistics processes, integrate data from multiple systems and securely store data at scale, all in a cost-effective way. If properly employed, ICTs can make a significant contribution towards achieving universal registration of vital events, providing legal documentation of civil registration as necessary to claim identity, civil status and ensuing rights, and producing accurate, complete and timely vital statistics.

This guidebook responds to the need expressed by countries in Africa to develop effective, scalable and sustainable CRVS systems and to maximise the impact of ICT investments. It was developed in collaboration with country experts across Africa and remains a living resource that will continue to evolve and expand over time.

The CRVS Digitisation Guidebook is an integral part of the CRVS strengthening support offered to African countries by the African Programme for the Accelerated Improvement of CRVS (APAI-CRVS) and should be used in conjunction with the development of a national CRVS strategic plan and work programme.

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Who is the guidebook for?

The Guidebook provides a common methodology aimed at

Government authorities responsible for the delivery of CRVS servicesProject managers responsible for CRVS digitization including government ICT departments
Organizations providing technical assistance for CRVS strengthening from the United Nations, NGOs and the private sectorDonors supporting ICT related CRVS initiatives (as a framework for monitoring projects to safeguard financial investments)
Three key principles
This guidebook takes into account common points of failure for eGov and ICT projects and responds with content that is underpinned by the following guiding principles:

ICT as an enabler of CRVS

CRVS Business Domain

ICT solutions must be seen as enablers and directly support the business functions of CRVS. The alignment of ICT to business need is at the core of Enterprise Architecture methodologies and this Guidebook takes inspiration from such approaches, presenting them in a simplified and easy-to-use format. The CRVS business domain is well defined and is used as a common point of reference for CRVS systems throughout the Guidebook (see figure, adapted from the "Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System", UNSD, 2014). For effective enablement of CRVS, ICT solutions and technology choices must be appropriate for the country context and based on a thorough analysis of existing systems and infrastructure, eGov policies, CRVS processes, human capacity and operational procedures.


Smart implementation planning

CRVS systems must be implemented and deployed in a manner which takes into account the realities of existing CRVS capacity. Where there is a significant gap between current CRVS capabilities and the desired future state, it will be necessary to create an implementation roadmap, such that the scope and timing of change is realistic and manageable. From a technology perspective this means that initial software releases should focus on less complex functionality to build confidence in the systems and that sufficient allowance is made for feedback on system requirements through prototyping, thorough field testing and piloting. In terms of the roles and responsibilities of system users, there will likely be initial resistance to change, so change management activities must be defined that encourage system use and progressively build acceptance of the system through positive communication of system benefits for users and beneficiaries.

Strong project governance

Clear and appropriate governance roles must be established for the CRVS authorities and IT departments involved in the CRVS digitisation project. Common project management documents will also reinforce these roles and a common understanding of the project objectives. Project roles and objectives must also align with those of the broader CRVS strengthening programme, noting that accountability mechanisms are paramount due to the inter-disciplinary nature of CRVS and the large number of stakeholders across different ministries