Sierra Leone: Building national civil and voter registers using biometrics

Registries compiled using 3,800 biometric kits at 2,600 sites

In Sierra Leone, Smartmatic worked alongside the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to create a comprehensive database with information from all of its citizens.

By gathering biometric and biographic data of the entire population using an identity management solution fully customized to the specific needs of Sierra Leone, authorities were able to create a new National Civil Register and a Voter Register to be used during the March 2018 elections.

Smartmatic provided the 3,800 registration kits that were configured by locally hired and trained technicians under the supervision of Smartmatic personnel.

Each registration kit was coupled with a power kit, which included solar panels to allow officials to reach the most remote rural areas of the country where power is scarce.

To guarantee the success of the registration effort, Smartmatic trained 660 trainers who in turn prepared the other 10,500 operators who ran 2,600 registration sites.



This portable, all-in-one device allows authorities to register citizens wherever they are. VIU-820 incorporates tools to capture biometric and biographic information such as: camera, fingerprint reader and printer.

Solar Power Kit

Each registration kit was equipped with solar panels and external batteries to allow at least 12 hours of independent operation.


This software component, used to run the entire identity management solution deployed in Sierra Leone, was used to allow the recording of biographic and biometric information, as well as authentication of individuals.


Identification Management System is the server application deployed in the NCRA Data Center to receive and consolidate the data gathered at the registration sites.


Automated Fingerprint Identification System for the fingerprints comparison.



Smartmatic configured every component of the registration system used during the project, from the VIU-800 to the solar panels and the Data Center.


Smartmatic trained approximately 660 supervisors on the operation of the registration kit. These operators then trained the remaining 10,500 operators in charge of going to the field and registering citizens.


Smartmatic refurbished the Wellington NEC offices and warehouse and prepared a 1,276 square meter production warehouse to configure and store the registration kits before mass registration began.

National Support Centre

Smartmatic set up a 150 square meter National Support Centre located in the capital Freetown with 22 Call Centre agents (trained by Smartmatic). The facility was used for technical assistance and warranty services.

Technical assistance and Warranty

Smartmatic offered 6 months of technical assistance from the first day of mass registration, and warranty service and spare parts for one year.

Why Sierra Leone?

According to the UNDP’s Human Development Index of 2011, Sierra Leone remains among the world’s poorest countries, ranking 180th out of 187 countries. Poverty is widespread with more than 60% of the population living on less than US$ 1.25 a day.

Sierra Leone was also one of the West Africa nations most affected by the Ebola during the outbreak of 2014 and 2015. An estimated fifteen thousand people were infected, and approximately four thousand died.

The new Civil Register will allow the State, NGOs and other International aid organizations to plan and implement more effectively measures to promote sustainable growth and improve the living standards of the people of Sierra Leone.