Multichannel enrollment and consultation platform for citizens of Burkina Faso
Our client is the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), the government organization in charge of the organization and supervision of electoral and referendum operations that address the needs of the people in Burkina Faso.
Political instability in 2014 and 2015 came to an end following multiparty presidential and legislative elections held in late 2015. The elections ushered in a new regime and laid a foundation for the continued development of democratic institutions and the automation of the electoral process. One of the most acute problems that the Independent National Electoral Commission subsequently faced was the annual update of the voter list, which laid a heavy burden on the country’s budget. Thus, the update of the electoral list for the 2015-2016 elections required 9 billion CFA francs (equivalent to 13.5 million euros) and revealed only 600 thousand new voters. Additional difficulty was given by the need to synchronize the data on citizens of the National Office of Identification with the data of the Independent National Electoral Commission, in order to subsequently refuse the voter’s card and use the Burkinabe National Identity Card both for the enrollment and voting. The solution to this problem was to be a multichannel platform that would allow every citizen of the country who has access to telephone and / or the Internet to check their presence on the electoral list and, if necessary, to enroll.
The project was carried out jointly by the LineUp team and our partner in Burkina Faso, the IT company Tap & Clic. At the same time, the LineUp team was directly involved in the software engineering activities of the multichannel platform and its subsequent deployment on the Customer’s servers, while the Tap & Clic team was engaged in solving organizational issues, purchasing and installing the necessary equipment, and testing the platform.
The main difficulties we encountered in the implementation of the project were: the scale of the project, the complexity and tight deadlines for its implementation; incomplete requirements specification for the development of the platform; Customer’s reluctance to participate in the development process; difficulties in obtaining any description of the existing databases and other systems with which the developed platform should ultimately interact; a large number of stakeholders, some of which openly sabotaged the project. Additional difficulties were given by the desire of some representatives of the Customer to interpret the vagueness of the requirements solely in their own favorю The unstable political situation in the country also put the project in jeopardy.
This project has become a real challenge both for our team and our partner Tap & Clic. We spent considerable time designing a flexible and scalable system architecture, since understood that at the stage of acceptance of the system we will have to make a lot of changes. We tried to fully involve all loyal stakeholders in the project. We have always tried to be flexible and find a compromise solution to controversial issues. All this allowed to implement the project in a short time and fully satisfy all the requirements of the Customer.
LineUp team addressed all the challenges listed above. As a result, our team’s effort produced the following benefits for the client.
Using the web application, any citizen of Burkina Faso can enroll as a voter on the electoral list, or get consultation about the polling station to which he is assigned. When enrolling, the system automatically offers the voter an optimal polling station based on his place of residence. In this case, the voter can either agree with the proposed option or change his residency data and select the new polling station. After the enrollment process is completed, the voter receives a confirmation on his mobile phone number and Email with the summary of his registration on the electoral list. Repeated enrollment is prohibited. The ability to enroll someone else was also implemented. To ensure the safety of personal data of voters from parsing and Internet bots, we implemented a number of preventive measures: the need to enter a confirmation code sent to the user’s phone number, the use of SSL encryption and reCAPTCHA, a limited time for the steps of the enrollment process, after which the voter is thrown out of the system and has to start from the first step. Absolutely all user actions, as well as all the information entered by him, are logged and saved to the database. The user interface of the web channel is responsive and correctly displayed on various devices – smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
Mobile application for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry platforms
The developed mobile application completely repeats the functionality of the web channel. For the user only the news section of the Independent National Electoral Commission is additionally available. In order to use the application, one must first create an account and verify his phone number by entering the control code.
This channel was developed specifically for citizens of the country who do not have access to the Internet. By sending the keyword followed by CNIB/Passport number to the short number of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the user gets access to the step-by-step interactive menu from the sequence of SMS messages to check his/her presence in the electoral list, to enroll or, if necessary, change the polling station. Within the SMS channel, a consultation procedure is also available, which is activated by sending another keyword to the CENI’s short number.
As part of the call center, we implemented the web interface of the operator’s personal account, using which he can check for the presence of a voter on the electoral list, enroll the new voters and, if necessary, change the prescribed polling station for them. Access to the personal account is provided by the authorization of the operator. All passwords are generated when an operator account is created through the back-office and sent to the operator’s email. Since all passwords are stored in a database in encrypted form, only the operator has access to an unencrypted password.
In addition to the web interface, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system was implemented, which allows the voter to connect with an operator who speaks the language he needs: French, Moore, Dioula or Fulfulde.
To control the duration of the enrollment process, the presence on the each step of the process is limited to a specific time with the possibility of a one-time reset of the timer by the operator. Similar to the web channel, all operator actions are logged and saved to a database.
The back office developed by us allows the administration of the Independent National Electoral Commission to manage the entire content of the platform, monitor operations, change the parameters of the voter enrollment and consultation process, view detailed analytics and generate various reports.
The implemented analytics and reporting subsystem allows to view both the general statistics of voters enrollment (broken down into successful and unsuccessful ones) and the statistics in terms of a specific channel, time period, administrative unit (region, province, commune, arrondissement, sector/village). Information is available in both tabular and graphical presentation with the possibility of its subsequent export to the .pdf and .xlsx formats. Implemented the ability to view detailed information about each user session (start and end time, email and phone number of the user, IP address, actions at each enrollment or consultation step, etc.) for each of the registration channels, as well as all the information about users of the mobile application.
An advanced management and monitoring system for call center operators has been implemented. The administration of CENI has the ability to add and disconnect operators from using the call center, as well as view analytics on the activities of both the entire call center and individual operators by day, week, month: the number of calls, the number of successful and unsuccessful registrations, the number of timer resets, etc. Total call traceability is available in the reports.
For mobile teams that are engaged in enrollment of voters who do not have cellular communications and access to the Internet, a special subsystem for generating and printing special voter tickets has been developed.
In order to inform voters about various events, an advanced system of mass distribution of SMS messages (Bulk SMS) has been implemented. This system allows to send messages both instantly and on schedule; send messages to certain phone numbers as well as to the database of existing voters with the ability to select an administrative unit and personalize the sent messages by analogy with the world-famous email marketing service MailChimp. The administration of CENI has access to the history of all SMS campaigns with graphical and tabular analytics for all mailings.
Within the back office, the following features were also implemented: content management of the information page of the mobile application; limit set up for the time periods of platform accessibility for users; change of the value of timers for each of the channels.
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