Synergy Launches National Social Protection Project in Barbados

 

 

Synergy has begun work on a new National Social Protection Project in Barbados, where we will develop a Social Safety Net Management Information System (PULSE MIS) for the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs (MPEA).  The PULSE MIS will serve as a unified system for the application, processing, and distribution of all social assistance programs across various government agencies.  The project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as part of the Strengthening Human and Social Development in Barbados Program, and as part of the United Nations Universal Adaptive Social Protection Program to Enhance Resilience in the Eastern Caribbean.

 

In late 2020, the Government of Barbados began a national re-organization of its social protection services.  Currently, benefits such as cash transfers, COVID-19 emergency assistance, food vouchers, and childcare benefits are delivered through different ministries, each with its own delivery systems.  This GOB, IDB, and United Nations effort will result in a simplified process for the most vulnerable people in Barbados to apply for and receive benefits.  Armed with the PULSE MIS, the GOB will be able to measure the social and economic outcomes of its investments in people, tracking beneficiaries’ graduation from social protection programs over time and giving the GOB data-driven insights to inform policy.

 

The Synergy team of Systems Analyst Ali Abdullah and Social Protection MIS Specialist Tim Lann traveled to Barbados during the first week of October to launch the project with MPEA and other Government of Barbados (GOB) agencies.  Synergy will assist the GOB in centralizing and digitalizing the delivery of all social protection benefits in the country.

 

Ali Abdullah and Tim Lann with the Permanent Secretary of MPEA during the project inception meeting

 

 

In the Caribbean, Synergy is also working with the governments of The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago to strengthen the national social safety net through information technology. Over the past decade, Synergy has crafted a software solution, recently rebranded as Auxilium, that is designed expressly for the social protection sector.

Synergy to Develop Social Services Management Information System for Trinidad & Tobago

Synergy International Systems, Inc. is proud to announce the start of the implementation of social services management information system (SSMIS) for the Ministry of Social Development and Family services in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has launched number of social assistance programs and grants aimed to reduce poverty of its citizens by providing social assistance and services to most vulnerable people.

In July 2020, Fujitsu Caribbean (Trinidad) Limited and Synergy International Systems as a consortium member were awarded the contract by the National Information and Communication Technology Company Limited on behalf of the  Ministry of Social Development and Family services (MSDFS) to implement Social Services Management Information System (SSMIS).

Similar to other relevant MIS and Payment System solutions created by Synergy, the SSMIS will assist the Ministry in effectively managing information on beneficiaries of social protection programs, generating transfer payments and distribution of assistance to the beneficiaries, as well as monitoring processes and outcomes to identify key operational challenges and success factors for better decision making.

The new SSMIS is intended to replace the existing systems and databases functioning in the MSDFS by providing the unified platforms for all social programs and related activities, from intake of the beneficiaries, throughout the approval of the applications and social payments, payment reconciliation and capturing follow-up site visit information and reports.

It is planned that the new system will streamline and automate the current processes within the MSDFS, allowing to minimize the delays in data collection and processing.

Online Access to Justice: How Rwanda Uses Digital Tools to Mitigate Covid-19 Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of transforming justice systems and delivering public services online. Having begun the journey of digital transformation of court cases more than five years ago, the justice sector of Rwanda no longer relies on manual, paper-based case processes. The Judiciary’s use of an online case management solution has kept the courts, as well as other agencies, functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic and has supported the goal of making the justice system more accessible and efficient. 

Rwanda entered full lockdown on March 16, 2020 after the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the country. Restrictions were in place until May 31, 2020 during which all institutions, including the Judiciary, were prohibited from opening to the public and had to find innovative ways to sustain service delivery. Because the Judiciary of Rwanda had invested in the Rwanda Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS), adapting to the new reality was significantly streamlined. The IECMS served as the backbone for facilitating case filing and follow-up, including case registration, adjudication, and judgment execution, as well as new features for online auctioning.

During the total lockdown, litigants continued to file and follow up on claims and cases online through the IECMS. Over 14,637 cases were filed in court during the total lockdown from March 16 – May 31, as compared with the first months of 2020 (pre-lockdown from January 1 – March 15) when the total number of filed cases was around 21,015.

Find out how digitization has enabled the courts in Rwanda to minimize disruption and accelerate the dispensing of justice during the lockdown and beyond.

 

Synergy Develops Online Trading Platform for Armenia Wholesale Electricity Market

synergy develops online trading platform for armenia wholesale electricity market

USAID SUPPORTS ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT TO LIBERALIZE WHOLESALE ELECTRICITY MARKET

 

On February 1, 2021, USAID/Armenia Acting Mission Director Mr. David Hoffman, Deputy Minister of the Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Mr. Hakob Vardanyan and Chairman of the Public Services Regulatory Commission Mr. Garegin Baghramyan participated in the presentation of the WEM Management System and launched the Pilot -Transition to the new WEM Model in Armenia. About 80 energy sector professionals including the key counterparts for the MLET Program at the Public Services Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures, the Market Operator, the System Operator as well as working group members and electricity trade responsible persons assigned from the generators, transmitter, distributor, universal supplier, wholesale electricity trader participated in the event.

To assist in the USAID Market Liberalization and Electricity Trade (MLET) Program’s efforts for liberalizing the Wholesale Electricity Market and improving electricity trade in Armenia, for the past year and a half, Synergy International Systems has been developing Armenia’s first-ever online trading platform for the WEM. This official platform, known as the Armenia Energy Exchange (AEX) Market Management System, will enable market participants to trade in the WEM openly and efficiently by opening access to the energy marketplace.

Using the platform, market participants will be able to bid in online auctions and execute electricity trading transactions. They will also be able to make informed decisions by analyzing statistical data and monitoring the electricity market in real time.

The USAID MLET Program supports Armenia’s efforts to make the country’s energy market more attractive to private investment, to expand electricity trade with Georgia to promote greater energy security for Armenia, to diversify Armenia’s energy supply, and to make the country’s energy markets more efficient and transparent.

 

Disclaimer: This article is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the publisher and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

 

Performance Indicator Database System (PIDS) Revolutionizes Reporting and Data-Driven Decision-Making on Development Response for USAID/Liberia

 

Within USAID’s Liberia Strategic Analysis (LSA) Project, under subcontract to Social Impact, Synergy International Systems has improved the quality of data collection and analysis for USAID/Liberia’s country wide development response efforts. 

 

PIDS is the first online data monitoring system for USAID/Liberia, automating the annual performance review and informing Mission-level decision making.

Prior to LSA’s 2015 launch, the legacy data collection system had been deployed, but had not yet achieved comprehensive data collection. It served as a data repository but did not allow for any built-in data analysis. Since launching the upgraded PIDS in 2016, the system has allowed for Mission users to achieve 100% data collection from Implementation Partners (IPs) and has fully automated the Mission’s annual Performance Plan and Report (PPR).

 

liberia-pid

USAID/Liberia Analytics Map Interface 

 

How PIDS Works

Since 2015, Synergy has been adapting PIDS to accommodate USAID’s requirements for information availability, portfolio management, performance monitoring and evaluation, and decision-making. Synergy rolled out PIDS in 2016 and has been training users and providing ongoing technical support ever since. Having implemented the system early in the project, LSA was able to shift its focus to data collection and data quality in later years of the five-year project.

Synergy staff assisted IPs with their data entry for target and actual project data and generated offline data entry sheets for partners who required manual data uploads into the system. This was especially helpful for partners with limited internet bandwidth or accessibility. A mobile version of PIDS, e-PIDS, was also developed for real-time data collection.

e-PIDS was the first mobile app ever created for a USAID Mission to be used for performance data collection and analysis.  e-PIDS has been a crucial tool for the mission during the COVID-19 crisis.  It has allowed for data on ongoing activities to still be uploaded to PIDS, even though site visits are limited due to travel restrictions.  For example, an IP working in the forestry sector in Liberia relies heavily on ePIDS to continue site visits and data entry in isolated forest areas. e-PIDS allows on-site staff to still upload data to PIDS and keep activities moving forward.  In addition to the key aspects of e-PIDS for COVID-19 response, e-PIDS has allowed for time optimization of all site visits.  Prior to the development of e-PIDS, staff would collect data by hand and on paper, often in very remote areas of Liberia.  Staff would then have to manually enter data when they returned to the Mission.  Now, because e-PIDS can operate offline, staff can enter all their site visit data while in the field, no matter how remote the site visit is.  COVID-19 has drastically accelerated both the use and the importance of e-PIDS.  This has allowed for real-time analysis of ongoing activities, despite the pandemic.

 

PIDS Results

For the first time in 2017, PIDS provided 100% of the development data required to complete the annual USAID/Liberia PPR. This report details the progress towards development objectives. PIDS has continued to provide 100% of the data for PPRs in subsequent years.

PIDS currently tracks 150 performance indicators related to malaria response, 25 related to education response, 60 related to democracy and governance, and many more. PIDS provides USAID staff with monitoring visualizations on which implementing partners are receiving funds, and which interventions are being carried out. All data on these performance indicators are analyzed to measure progress towards national development objectives.

With just one click, USAID technical teams can now generate PPR indicators data for all development objectives. This was achieved by making improvements to the PIDS reporting tools to produce analytical reports that would substantially reduce the time spent by the Mission on the annual PPR. In addition, LSA provided weekly indicator tables throughout the PPR process, as well as ongoing reviews and updates from the PIDS. Through utilization of the PIDS, USAID has improved the accuracy and completeness of reporting data.  The built-in analytics enable “drag-and-drop” functionality to make custom tables, dashboards, GIS maps, and other reports.  None of these reports require any coding or technical proficiency, providing a user-friendly interface for non-technical users.  This has facilitated a Mission-wide shift away from excel-based data storage, to an automated, data analytics platform that informs decision making and supports program learning.

 

PIDS has enabled the USAID/Liberia mission to improve data-driven decision-making through two key developments.

 

  • Each USAID/Liberia development objective is measurable, thus determining how they were contributing to the Country Development Coordination Strategy (CDCS) for Liberia for 2013-2019. This helps the mission shape their ongoing efforts to achieve country-wide development goals.  PIDS data was essential in creating the Liberia CDCS for 2019-2024.  Without PIDS, measurement of progress towards goals would be inefficient and potentially inaccurate.  Practically, this means USAID/Liberia can analyze the effectiveness of programs as they are being implemented, and it helps the mission determine how to shift the goals of the program during mid-course evaluations.
  • e-PIDS, the PIDS mobile app, allows for real time data collection thus enabling significant efficiency gains towards development objective measurement.

 

But how exactly does PIDS impact decision-making?

PIDS helps USAID/Liberia with strategic decision-making through access to live, high-quality results and indicator data about Mission programs.  Part of this process involves evaluations of ongoing programs to determine if they are being effective, meeting their stated goals, and instigating midcourse corrections/project re-designs if necessary.  The only way to have a scientific approach to these evaluations is by being grounded in project data.

Thus, all evaluations start with an analysis of project and program data in PIDS.  Evaluators use this data to understand how the activity is progressing prior to the evaluation, which can be helpful if any mid-course corrections are needed.  In total, 26 activities have been improved through a PIDS data-driven approach to evaluations, leading to a faster response cycle to the needs of the country, and a more productive relationship between USAID/Liberia and the relevant government ministries.

PIDS started as an effort to bring data analysis capabilities to an online data repository and move away from paper and excel-based data storage.  This initially transformed the PPR process, which was all done manually prior to PIDS.  It evolved to encompass an offline and mobile app, e-PIDS, which has led to significant time optimization of site visits and has been crucial for the Mission since the onset of COVID-19.  Finally, PIDS has effectively reached its goal of helping Mission decision-making by creating an effective cycle of project data entry, Mission data analysis, program data evaluation, learning, and the creation and re-design of new programs, moving the Mission towards significant progress on development objectives.

 

LSA concluded in early 2021, and Synergy (under a direct contract with USAID/Liberia) is currently adapting PIDS, creating additional evaluation features, and providing technical support to ensure long-term sustainability of the system.  Eventually, PIDS will be integrated and transitioned to the DIS, USAID’s upcoming agency-wide M&E system for data-driven decision making.

 

 

Disclaimer: This article is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the publisher and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

 

 

Zimbabwe Digitizes the Judiciary with Synergy

zimbabwe judiciary

 

Synergy partners with Zimbabwe’s Judicial Service Commission to start the digital transformation of the country’s judiciary enhancing access to justice for all.

Synergy International Systems and Zimbabwe’s Judicial Service Commission will work together to promote the adoption of new technologies and skills development across the judiciary and law society. Synergy, as the technology provider, will design and implement an integrated case management system to support the Judicial Service Commission in its mission to become paperless.

In December 2020, the Judicial Service Commission involved Synergy as a technology partner in an attempt to provide a more accessible and digitized public service and improve easy communication between the judiciary and public.

For years, Zimbabwe has lacked an all-encompassing case management platform that could reflect existing processes, interact with related systems and be reliably accessible. This has hindered the effective processing and resolution of cases in a timely manner. Today, there are few tools for real-time analysis and monitoring of performance, as well as for case processing, which is a barrier to evidence-based decision-making.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the need for accelerating the digital transformation of the judiciary in Zimbabwe. It has become obvious that citizens and businesses must have access to justice also online.

Officially opening the 2021 legal year on January 11, Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Luke Malaba said that:

 “Courts could not afford to lag behind in harnessing the potential of ICT in ensuring that access to justice is not disrupted.”

Within the modernization project, Synergy will provide Zimbabwe with a software solution that will integrate the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Commercial Court, High Court, Labor Court, Administrative Court, Magistrates Court, Master of High Court and Sheriff of the High Court under one tech umbrella. The solution will help automate and track the entire case lifecycle, from initial filing through disposition and appeal.

During the upcoming years, Synergy will work closely with the Judicial Service Commission in multiple directions:

Digitization: Synergy will help optimize and improve processes using technologies and best practices. This means that Zimbabwe’s judiciary will be able to gradually go paperless reducing case backlog, speeding up case disposition, improving the quality of case adjudication processes. Parallelly, citizens and businesses will have access to justice, from their laptop at home.

Capacity Building: Synergy will also develop a dedicated training program. Along with the technology solution, Synergy will provide both court staff and technical teams with knowledge that will make them more effective and sustainable.

Response to COVID-19: The pandemic exposes a dire need to enhance communication across all possible channels. Synergy will make virtual collaboration technology available to allow better interaction between the judiciary and the public.

Data Collection: Through the integrated case management, platform users will be able to collect and manage consolidated case-specific data, ensure effective case processing, including fee payments and overall court performance, and enhance the transparency and accountability. The new real-time analytic tools will help improve the quality of strategic decisions.

Synergy Case Management System

Synergy Case Management System is a reliable integrated case management solution designed to address the needs of justice sector institutions and organizations. The software allows governments all over the world to significantly enhance their justice systems by streamlining and simplifying the essential processes. Synergy CMS also provides users with real-time data and analytics to inform decision-making.

Today, Synergy CMS is implemented on all the continents, supporting multiple justice sector institutions in Rwanda, Uganda, Ukraine, Guyana and many other countries.

Synergy Helps Further Strengthen Capacity and Knowledge of Social Services Representatives in the Bahamas

social protection MIS Bahamas

The five-day online training session for MoSSUD social services representatives of the Bahamas explored the capabilities of the Social Protection MIS (ProMIS) and effective practices in quality social service delivery through the automated management information system.

Synergy International Systems, Inc. and the Department of Social Services of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development (MoSSUD) of the Bahamas organized capacity-building sessions for local social workers to use Synergy’s ProMIS solution (Social Protection Information System) for delivering social assistance to the beneficiaries. The training was conducted by Project Managers Ms Lia Harutyunyan and Ms Diana Gurzadyan and was attended by more than 50 participants from MoSSUD.

In his welcome speech, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, The Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said:

“I am satisfied and I assure you that no matter how advanced we become technology-wise, the role of a social worker will not change. We will introduce technology that will free up and enable social workers to do what they have been trained to do. Our objective is to go from a 100% paper-operated business to a 100% paperless-operated business. ProMIS is a double-edge software. It is going to relieve you from paper shuffling to enable you to do your work as social workers. ProMIS is also going to keep you honest.”

ProMIS is a web-based information management system that aims to provide social workers with the tools to organize, evaluate and efficiently manage clients of the Department of Social Services within their portfolios, eventually leading to an increased effectiveness of the Ministry’s daily operations.

Synergy started the implementation of ProMIS for MoSSUD of the Bahamas in 2016. In 2020, the system expanded to cover 13 social assistance programmes, including COVID-19 assistance food programme. It also automates processes such as targeting, enrolment, payment, case management, and appeals. The system is equipped with a crisis response module to provide food coupon assistance in case of an emergency and disaster, as well as advanced tools for reporting and analysis. The web portal is implemented for the beneficiaries to apply for social services online, without the need to visit social centres. The same portal can be used to track the application status, collect food coupons and submit complaints.

Synergy Will Help Modernize the Justice System in Guyana

MIS Guyana

Synergy International Systems, a leading provider of e-justice solutions, will implement a management information system for the justice sector of Guyana.

The project, to be completed in the second half of 2021, includes the design and implementation of a management information system (MIS) that will enable Guyana’s justice sector institutions to transform their operations and optimize processes.

As part of this partnership, The Probation Services Department of the Ministry of Human Services, The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Police Prosecutors, and The Restorative Justice Office of Guyana will obtain technology and tools as well as training and capacity-building assistance to accelerate their digitalization strategies. The Juvenile Justice Unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Legal Affairs will also benefit from this transformation. The project is a joint venture involving Synergy International Systems – USA and PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services Limited – Trinidad.

In particular, the project will leverage advanced technologies to help address the problem of overcrowding conditions in the penitentiary system in Guyana. This will be achieved by focusing on two main factors which contribute to overcrowding: the over-reliance by the criminal justice system on custodial sentences and the overuse of pre-trial detention. Among the key objectives is also to reduce the average number of days from indictment to conclusion – from 220 days to 90 days (or lower).

Eventually, Synergy’s technologies will help improve the overall organizational culture, enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system.

Learn more about the Synergy Case Management System.