Earlier this week, I had the privilege of participating in a conference sponsored by Both Ends Burning (BEB) and Tyler Technologies. Attending the conference were 10 government officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The Department of State was also represented.
You may recall that a year ago BEB convened a symposium at Harvard with 20 countries. There were 4 follow-up tracks to that conference. One was a technology track, which most of the countries were quite interested in. The idea was to be able to identify orphaned children, register them as citizens, provide government workers with data to move them through the system toward permanency, and track progress.
In many developing countries, there are two very basic problems. There is often no record of the child at all – no birth certificate; no nothing. The child has no official identity. That’s quite a hurdle to overcome. The second problem emanates from the first. While these countries may recognize that they have an orphan crisis, they often do not know the magnitude of the crisis.
Tyler Technologies, based in Plano, has developed software and defined a process to address these issues. The purpose of the conference was to demonstrate the software to the delegates from these countries and have them provide feedback as to how applicable, implementable and valuable this whole approach could be.
The conference exceeded expectations, partly because the delegates came very well prepared and partly because Tyler Technologies is as impressive a corporation as I have ever dealt with. They seem to have anticipated almost every conceivable issue – very smart and compassionate group of people.
Ideally, a pilot in each country will take place during the first half of 2016. Once proven successful, the intent is to expand it within country and replicate it to other countries that may have similar needs.
It's a privilege for me to be a board member of Both Ends Burning, an organization that continues to make a difference for vulnerable children every where.