Benefits of using biometric technology are not restricted to the corporate world alone as it’s continuing to have a substantial impact on the lives of people especially who are living in the developing or under-developed countries. Government agencies of various countries in association with the United Nations and various NGOs are implementing biometric devices such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition devices to provide social services to their citizens. These devices not only provide unique identity to every citizen but also help governments in forming and implementing various public welfare policies.
VaxTrac, a non-profit organization, has collaborated with the UNICEF and the World Health Organization to provide life-saving vaccines to children in the Western African region and uses fingerprint scanners to keep record of vaccines provided to children. This helps in keeping track of vaccines already given and that must be administered in the future to save precious lives. Government of Malawi (a southern-eastern African country), has provided drought relief payments to farmers by linking payment transfers with fingerprint identification so as that the money could reach to the legitimate drought-stricken families.
The South African Social Service Agency (SASSA) that provides grants to seniors, people with disabilities, children, veterans etc. uses fingerprint readers to enrol & disperse grants and has already cancelled in excess of 300,000 fraudulent grants which saved considerable amount of money to be used in other social services provided by SASSA. In Nigeria, insurance coverage to underprivileged children and their mothers is given with the help of biometric smartcards that help in uniquely identifying the right recipients and eliminate fraudulent cases.
Biometric ID cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the countries that have taken in refugees has made life easier for millions of people who are living as refugees in these countries for as long as 20 years. These biometric ID cards store information w.r.t. fingerprints, iris patterns, facial patterns, etc. and are used to take advantage of many benefits provided to these refugees. To lend political stability and infuse confidence in its citizens with regards to elections, many developing and underdeveloped countries around the world especially in Africa such as Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc. are using biometric devices such as fingerprint readers to authenticate its voters at the polling booths.
There are numerous such examples where biometric devices have improved the efficiency of public welfare programs manifold. From public distribution systems to providing medical aid, biometric technology has made management of various social projects easier and more accurate than ever.