Building the digital future for NRC’s Information, Counseling and Legal Assistance programme

Update: Information Session have now come to a close. Materials from the sessions can be found below along with links to background materials and the Concept Note template!

Due to inconsistency across documents and this page submission deadline for Note has been extended until 24th July 2019, 12:00pm (UST +2). For any questions, please email us at:

Forty-year-old Zia Gull has seven children, and her family is so poor that she could not apply for an ID card by herself. NRC helped her obtain the document in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC

Forty-year-old Zia Gull has seven children, and her family is so poor that she could not apply for an ID card by herself. NRC helped her obtain the document in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: Enayatullah Azad/NRC

Without an identity document, you don’t exist

Aisha fled from her home after an armed group attacked the community and killed her husband. She travelled for days and had her ID confiscated along the way. Aisha arrived at an IDP camp seeking refuge and assistance. On her second day in the camp, Aisha gives birth to a baby. As she cannot prove the death of her husband with a death certificate, she cannot request a birth certificate for her baby. This further increases the vulnerability of herself and the baby.

Aisha’s story is a fictional one, but it could have been one of the many cases the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA) program in Iraq encounters every day. An estimated 45,000 displaced children do not have birth certificates or other official documents proving their identity. Beyond Iraq, the story is representative of one of the many challenges faced by displaced populations across the globe.

The lack of documentation prevents many displaced persons from accessing services needed in the near term, such as education, housing, refugee status determination, employment opportunities, and can have long-term consequences. The ICLA program supports people like Aisha to understand, interpret and navigate administrative and legal frameworks so they can claim and exercise their rights. However, many displaced persons live in areas which NRC cannot physically access, or the need exceeds NRCs ability to respond. Therefore, many people in need of assistance still don’t have access to our services.

NRC believes there is a great potential to improve the service experience for people receiving assistance through our ICLA programs and increase its reach beyond the people it currently serves. Through the processes of innovation and digital transformation, NRC aims to mitigate and address the pain points commonly raised by current beneficiaries, including:

  • Time and money wasted due to lack of information or inaccurate information (for example, on procedures or when to pick up documents)

  • The need to travel and/or pay for transportation to access information or counselling services often needing to leave children behind and unattended

  • Lack of timely and real-time updates on legal assistance cases or on changes in procedures, for example 

  • Long waiting times before being able to receive information and tailored counselling from NRC

In 2018, NRC began working with NetHope under the Dream Design Deliver initiative collaborating with Microsoft, Accenture Development Partners and Fjord to re-imagine ICLA digitally. Since the project inception, NRC has received additional support from Innovation Norway and Cisco Foundation.

NRC now is seeking to open the process to the community at large. We want to consult with a broad range of actors in both the non-profit and private sector to help us to refine the design work done to date, generate new ideas, solutions and concepts, as well as assist us in better understanding what the market has to offer at present and where true innovation will be needed to deliver on our vision.

The following provides a brief overview of the ideation, solution concepts and design work done to date. More detail can be found in the Executive summary.

The software solution vision

Galileo – The internal platform

The design work that has been carried out to date has created a future state service blueprint which maps out both the digital and non-digital interactions between NRC and beneficiaries. In order to bring this vision to fruition, NRC seeks to create a platform solution that encompasses both a beneficiary facing digital application and an internal content and process management application supporting the delivery of both digital and non-digital services.

The 4C’s – Content Creation, Curation & Communication

The 4C’s is where local field teams will create and curate the ICLA content that beneficiaries seek out. The 4C’s tool will enable teams to fully digitize general information content and the localized decision trees which generate personalized process recommendations for users. The tool will enable improved consistency and accuracy of information regardless of the channel access chosen by the beneficiary. It will be the one source of information for digital access points (mobile application/web), face to face counselling sessions, interactive voice response systems, SMS and call centers/hotlines

DC-App - Digital Counselling

The DC-app is the envisioned software solution through which our clients will both self-service their information and counselling needs and follow their legal assistance cases being managed by NRC staff. Through this channel beneficiaries will be able to access tailored process recommendations based upon decision tree questions, provide feedback or ask questions on specific content presented and get responses via chatbot and messaging functionalities, share tips with others in their community, and be able to track their personal tasks related to navigating an administrative process.

First Mile digital Access Challenge

With the focus of design work on software solutions, NRC has left open for further exploration one of the main concepts that has come out of discussions with affected populations and NRC staff in the field - the need for a first mile digital access solution. While feedback from end users consistently highlighted the desire for human interaction in the provision of information and counselling this was juxtaposed against the desire for more consistent and permanent access to the information and counselling services provided through the face to face interaction. The ICLA team in Kenya entitled this concept the ‘Jua Desk’. An as of yet undefined hybrid possibly combining things such as proximity desks, community information points, towers, digital kiosks, or smartscreens with NRC stewards, just to name a few traditional options.

NRC seeks to engage with the humanitarian sector, innovators and the private sector to help us define the functional and performance requirements for such a first mile digital access solution.  We are interested in better understanding what solutions exist in the market already and what solutions might currently be in development but not yet available commercially.

Who should participate?

On the software side:

  • Technology and software development consulting companies

  • Content management software/infrastructure providers

  • Customer service/ticketing solution providers

  • Customers service flow/trees/automation solution providers

  • Access to justice/LegalTech innovators and start-ups

  • Tech support/IVR/Chatbot decision tree solution providers

  • Legal aid platform holders/providers

On the first mile digital access side:

  • Digital kiosk providers

  • Custom hardware design and engineering consultants/providers

Humanitarian and non-profit sector:

  • Legal aid and access to justice actors

Find out more and Get involved:

Innovative procurement process

This project is seeking to find solution/s to build the digital future for NRC’s Information, Counseling and Legal Assistance programme. Before the formal RFP procurement process, we are performing a learning process where we collaborate with the market to find the right approach, problem description and finally a RFP-able solution description (or RFP-able problem statement). The procurement process may be split into separate calls or launched as a single call. NRC reserves the right to suspend procurement should it deem a change in direction is in the best interest of NRC or our beneficiaries.

The process will consist of three parts:

  1. Information Sessions - this is an opportunity for vendors and interested parties to learn more about the project and problem statements, ask questions, and learn what a solution needs to deliver on. We will organize a number of information session covering different time zones to ensure vendors from across the globe have a chance to engage with us. Please see Minutes, the slides and Q&A from information sessions.

  2. Concept note and bilateral follow up - every vendor who has a viable solution strategy is encouraged to write a concept note outlining the strategy. The template for the concept note will be published shortly. Every vendor who submitted a concept note within the deadline will be invited for a bilateral follow up meeting. The purpose of the concept notes and bilateral meeting is for us to learn more about potential solution strategies. The learning generated will be used to scope the RFP requirements. Please see Concept Note Template.

  3. Request for Proposals (RFP) - once all concept notes are submitted and bilateral meetings have been conducted, the team will finalize the requirements that will be published in the RFP. All actors, whether they have participated in the learning processes or not, will be eligible to submit a proposal to the RFP.

Contact us via email - - for more information, or attend an Info Session by filling out the form for Registration/Expression of Interest.


NRC, along with the people it serves, has embarked on this journey to transform the way in which legal aid services are accessed, delivered and received with the support of: