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Steering Group Meeting 2021: A Wrap-Up

openIMIS ended the year 2021 with a successful and exciting Steering Group Meeting (SGM). More than 50 experts from bilateral implementing agencies, donors and international organizations discussed one topic: Digital public goods in social protection.

The event was hosted by the Steering Group participants: the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It aimed to engage in the implementation of digital public goods in social protection and to collaborate on the development of standards and guidelines for digital social protection. 

The event started with opening remarks by BMZ and SDC. Both have been supporters of the openIMIS initiative since 2016 and commented about the continuous evolution of openIMIS over the years. From an initial tailor-made software developed for the Community Health Fund in Tanzania (2012), openIMIS has matured into a digital public good, serving health and social protection schemes in eight countries. This growth is attributed to the joint efforts and supports from the vibrant community of developers, implementers, and users. It is therefore only logical, that BMZ and SDC invited the attending experts and organisations to join as new members of the Steering Group and become part of its journey.

The first session was hosted by BMZ and all about implementing a digital public good. Among other things, the session aimed to create awareness of the support offers by the Coordination Desk and to encourage organisations to take up openIMIS for implementation in their social (health) protection schemes. Therefore, the implementing agency Enable presented its implementations via two approaches, within a bilateral programme in Niger and through the WeHubit programme in Zanzibar, implemented by PharmAccess.

The following panel discussion was called “Collaboration between digital public goods in social protection”. Experts from the ILO, World Bank (CoreMIS), UNICEF (HOPE), the Social Protection Convergence Initiative and the openIMIS Coordination Desk discussed about interoperability and standard building in social protection. They reflected from the side of users and their needs as well as from the angle of providers of digital solutions in social protection and their contributions.

The SGM closed with a brief wrap-up. Ralf Radermacher, Head of Programme for Sector & Global Initiative Social Protection (GIZ) emphasized once again the importance of a regular exchange between the various stakeholders and experts. "The dialogue between the different solutions will enable each respective solution to become better and cross-fertilised, to potentially have modules that can be plugged-in the solution of a different provider, eventually catering to multiplicity of options or even something like an open source software suite for social protection, where countries can draw from and plug and play the modules which they need.”

The openIMIS initiative, that much is certain, will make its contribution in this regard. It will continue to develop and cater to more use cases to fill gaps in the current global software provision, but being mindful of other digital solutions out there, where synergies can be created and duplications can be avoided.

The SGM took place on November 25th. Please find more information in our wiki

Information about the upcoming SGM 2022 will be shared on the openIMIS communication channels in time.