The 2016 Social & Community Investment Awards: Accenture

AccentureAccenture

Type of Work: Significantly Discounted Client: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees faced an operational challenge: how to quickly and accurately identify a constantly changing population of forcibly displaced people in its camps worldwide. Accenture leveraged its Unique Identity Service Platform to deploy a breakthrough biometrics system that captures, matches and stores fingerprints, iris data and facial images of individuals.

The technology provides undocumented refugees with their only personal identity record, ensuring that the right people receive assistance where and when they need it.

The UNHCR needed a breakthrough biometrics system, and they selected Accenture to design and build it, understanding that the engagement of the private sector, especially large, tech companies like Accenture would be critical to their success, says Marty Rodgers who leads the firm’s Washington D.C. Metro Office, as well as its Nonprofit Group.

“Organizations harnessing digital technologies can power change and help advance the way they affect people,” he says. “Leveraging our capabilities to help those in need is embedded in our DNA, and our people have been tremendously, enthusiastically supportive.”

During a four-week pilot in Malawi, the UNHCR registered nearly 17,000 refugees. Since then, the system has enrolled 120,000 refugees in Thailand, 100,000 refugees in Chad, and is being rolled out globally. Leveraging this expertise, Accenture Federal Services will provide consulting and digital services and program management support to the White House Partnership for Refugees.

In just six weeks—collaborating closely with UNHCR—Accenture configured a pilot Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS) tailored to the agency’s unique needs, leveraging its own software.

“BIMS is more inclusive and accurate in matching an identity and de-duplicating multiple enrolment attempts because it uses several biometric modalities,” Rodgers says. “The technology captures and stores fingerprints, iris data and facial images of individuals, providing undocumented refugees with their only personal identity record and ensuring that the right people receive assistance where and when they need it.”

The system provides UNHCR with the flexibility to deploy it locally or remotely in high-risk areas, with Accenture providing support globally. The mobile solution has now been rolled out to approximately 820,000 enrollees, with the intent to expand to additional camps over time.

Rodgers says the commitment and connection to UNHCR’s overall mission is really two-fold.

“First, as global organizations, we’re both constantly taking thoughtful actions to bring positive change, for today and for tomorrow. Fundamentally, our goal at Accenture is to improve the way the world works and lives—it’s central to our vision as a company,” he says.

“Second, across our business, we develop technology solutions to help organizations maximize performance and achieve their vision, so we knew we had an amazing opportunity to make a real, sustainable impact collaborating with UNHCR. In this case, we’re using digital innovation to address complex, global issues and improve people’s lives.

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