Basic Info

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Nominee Information

Institutional Information

Member State Bahrain
Institution Name Information & eGovernment Authority
Institution Type Public Agency
Administrative Level National
Name of initiative BeAware Bahrain
Projects Operational Years 2
Website of Institution

Question 1: About the Initiative

Is this a public sector initiative? Yes

Question 2: Categories

Is the initiative relevant to one of the UNPSA categories? Special Category: Institutional Resilience and Innovative Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

Question 3: Sustainable Development Goals

Is the initiative relevant to any of the 17 SDG(s)? Yes
If you answered yes above, please specify which SDG is the most relevant to the initiative. (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Goal 3: Good Health
Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Which target(s) within the SDGs specified above is the initiative relevant to? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks

Question 4: Implementation Date

Has the initiative been implemented for two or more years Yes
Please provide date of implemenation (dd/MM/yyyy) 31 Mar 2020

Question 5: Partners

Has the United Nations or any UN agencies been involved in this initiative? No
Which UN agency was involved? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Please provide details

Question 6: Previous Participation

1. Has the initiative submitted an application for consideration in the past 3 years (2017-2019)? No

Question 7: UNPSA Awards

Has the initiative already won a UNPS Award? No

Question 8: Other Awards

Has the initiative won other Public Service Awards? No

Question 9: How did you learn about UNPSA?

How did you learn about UNPSA? EMAIL

Question 10: Validation Consent

I give consent to contact relevant persons and entities to inquire about the initiative for validation purpose. Yes

Nomination form


Question 1

Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
With the covid-19 pandemic raging across the globe, the kingdom of Bahrain proactively focused on nation-wide preparedness and collaboration to strengthen the country’s ability to successfully manage a pandemic of this magnitude months before reaching the kingdom. Bahrain dealt with the pandemic transparently resulting in public trust, collective responsibility and a Whole of Government approach supported by various integrated solutions for pandemic planning, monitoring, testing, contact tracing & quarantine. One such notable initiatives is the Institutional resilience & innovative response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the BeAware Bahrain. The app addresses the following social, economic, and technological challenges: a) Practicing social distancing among Bahrain’s dense population b) Limiting the pandemic’s social & economic impact c) Ramping up of Digital ecosystem including digital infrastructure & data integration d) Building institutional capacities to manage Pandemics & National Disasters BeAware Bahrain app was introduced to achieve the following objectives: a) Tracking COVID-19 disease activity in real time captured from smartphones and wearable devices and analyzed through data dashboards and migration maps b) Enable Contact tracing by alerting individuals who might have been in contact with an infected person c) Enforce Quarantine and Self isolation measures by monitoring infected individuals in quarantine d) Facilitate Clinical management by diagnosing infected individuals and providing inputs for tele medicine services and virtual care. e) Ensure community resilience by enabling real-time pandemic information and application / status of vaccination. f) Support decisions based on data using big data analytics and AI components to analyze large datasets to help the National Taskforce make informed decisions rapidly and based on facts Focusing on those objectives, the Government, with the community buy-in, have integrated the BeAware Bahrain into the national pandemic containment and mitigation processes which assisted in flattening of their incidence curves without ever having to institute a national-level lockdown.

Question 2

Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
The BeAware Bahrain is an example of the country’s Whole of Government approach in enhancing the institutional preparedness of the nation to significantly improve the transparency, collaboration, and an enduring commitment to data-driven science-led policy making in response to a pandemic of this magnitude. The BeAware Bahrain enhanced the Government’s way to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from pandemic utilizing the advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning. The BeAware Bahrain has positively altered the fundamental, operational, organizational and social dynamics of conventional pandemic and disaster management in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Question 3

a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
BeAware Bahrain is primarily supporting two Sustainable Development Goals namely: a) Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives & promote well-being for all at all ages b) Goal 11: Make cities & human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient & sustainable c) Goal 17: Partnerships for Goals (Strengthen the means of implementing and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development) BeAware Bahrain has been supporting the Government’s policy decision makers as well as health workers to be connected to information and diagnostic services, while analytics assists in making projections about disease outbreaks, health service usage, patient knowledge, attitudes, personal continuous management of diseases and health practices. Based on the latest figures, 34% of identified possible contacts from the app were found infected in comparison to less than 5% of the randomly tested individuals. Attached document. BeAware Bahrain has strengthened the collaboration between the public & private sector and has institutionalized the culture of both sectors’ collaboration within the Kingdom. Example, the collaboration & integration with private sector facilities led to increased testing capacities & locations. The app provides a platform to verify & validate individuals’ health information, especially for travel purposes, noting the collaboration with local & international airlines. Attached document.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
BeAware Bahrain is a reusable platform that can be used whenever the nation encounters a pandemic. The initiative has led to substantial insights with respect to activating stakeholder relationships and involvement in the social, economic, technological, and environmental ecosystem, to create new ones and ensure the long-term sustainability of healthcare and crisis management system in Bahrain. The BeAware Bahrain app has boosted the access to COVID-19 related information to improve the awareness of issues related to COVID19 and assist the policy makers in informed decision making thereby reducing the spread of pandemic, and providing supporting eServices.

Question 4

a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
Bahrain, in its history, have not been prone to severe and serious disruption of the functioning of its society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources. Hence, the advent of COVID-19 have tested the public administration’s ability to address the consequences of widespread Pandemic in following areas: a) Developing knowledge and decision support tools for early warning, mitigation, and response planning. b) Developing a single platform addressing public healthcare as well as collecting data and information in databases to manage logistics during pandemic as well as for mapping, modeling, and forecasting. c) Promoting cooperation, communicating and disseminating information, particularly to at-risk communities. d) Teaching, learning, and raising awareness as well as building specific skill sets required by officials. BeAware Bahrain have addressed all the above-mentioned challenges by integrating digital technologies as part of country’s sustainable development efforts, pandemic mitigation (pandemic mitigation information database), pandemic preparedness (Monitoring & Prediction, warning dissemination, responding) , pandemic response (Strategic direction, manage information, facilitate task and problem management, forward planning) and pandemic recovery and reconstruction.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
BeAware initiative addresses the public without age or gender restriction without discrimination. It addresses the following: • Assists policy makers by generating insights into the effects of health emergency related to COVID-19 on men and women, different communities of residence & citizens to create effective, equitable policies and interventions. • Generate data for gender analysis into the preparedness and institutional response to improve the effectiveness of health interventions and promote gender and health equity goals. • Generate data for research addressing the impact of biological and social factors on the health differences of women and men to better serve their individual health needs.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
a) Citizens, Residents and Visitors: Utilizes the app to access information and eServices including daily symptoms report, Coronavirus Test Result, Registration for Coronavirus Vaccine, issuing Vaccination certificate, appointment booking as well as reporting issues about the home isolation dates, Payments for Covid test on arrival, Covid19 statistics and Vaccination status to access public places. b) Ministry of Health: Utilizes the app as a comprehensive registration system used in the Country’s borders to streamline arrival registration process efficiently. c) Ministry of Interior: Utilizes the information from the app to monitor and report any violations of the home isolation d) National COVID-19 Hotline: Utilizes the app as an Appointment management system to help organize appointments for the Covid19 test. e) National Taskforce: reviewing dashboards of analyzed datasets to support the rapid decision-making process. “BeAware Bahrain” minimized government investment in isolation centers and ensured compliance to isolation guidelines. It enhanced the efficiency of the tests and the vaccination Centers. The traceability of individuals’ location helped with early detection of affected cases and assisted in informed decisions leading to a high recovery rate. The app had a significant role in ensuring 93% of the eligible population to get vaccinated till date.

Question 5

a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
The inception of the idea started after the need to utilize technological solutions to help in mitigating the risks and impacts of the pandemic. The envisioned solution needed to collect all relevant data sets from the respective sources, analyze those data quickly and then provide the output to support the National Taskforce for combating COVID-19 in the decision-making process to respond swiftly. The project team identified best practices for dealing with such pandemic and aimed to introduce useful services in a prioritized manner, in order to ensure social distancing is practiced by everyone. An agile methodology was followed to ensure that deliverables were completed faster. An around-the-clock development and operation team of developers were formed to carryout development activities, and to support users in case there are any issues. In the first 21 days since its release, about 12 releases/updates with new features were published. The app as well as the whole system behind it was audited for vulnerabilities and for privacy practices by a third-party body (Bahrain Society of Auditors) and was considered as approved. The auditing activities are still carried out by the responsible team along with each feature release.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
The obstacles includes urgency in releasing an error free Whole of Government interoperable solution, Legal / Business Processes to facilitate solution, Data collection and harmonization, Acceptance of users (Resistance to change and use of technology), Coordination between government entities, implement and activate electronic home isolation, Enabling electronic monitoring over home isolated users, and establishment of AI model to provide contract tracing mechanism. These challenges were addressed through official decrees from the Government encouraged by community buy-in and supported with a highly motivated BeAware team who were encouraged by the value of the outcomes BeAware would bring to society.

Question 6

a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
The “BeAware Bahrain” App provided a quick and reliable response to an active situation within the society using open source and Cloud technology. Its agility capitalized on the matured interoperability among different institutions (Public and Private) involved in the Pandemic containment. It took two weeks from conceptualization to public utilization including releasing the supporting regulations that boosted its credibility. It engaged Society individuals as key players and ultimate beneficiaries. The App provided doctors with live data to be able to identify patterns and improve guidelines and treatment while providing health administrators with estimations to ensure sustainability of health services.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
A full month before registering the first COVID case in Bahrain, the Government established a war room that served as the nerve center of the country’s containment efforts, marshalling resources and people to coordinate a whole-of-country response. Taking clue from the digital interventions supporting the ‘test, trace, and treat’ adopted in Southeast Asian nations, Bahrain developed the BeAware app that supports the country’s integrated coronavirus control strategy. The functionalities of BeAware were further enhanced and improved enabling Bahrain to be the first country in the GCC region to allow COVID19 vaccine appointments through the mobile app.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
Yes, BeAware is a smart mobile application that uses the Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Bluetooth and GPS technologies in the contact tracing and notification services to minimize the spread of the covid19 within the Kingdom. The BeAware Application and supporting platform infrastructure was on AWS cloud to ensure the scalability, reliability, and continuous availability of the system. Furthermore, the BeAware app being a digital government initiative has stepped up its central role as a necessary element of pandemic communication, facilitating collaboration between society, policy makers and leadership in tackling the challenges arising out of COVID 19.

Question 7

a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
The Government of Bahrain has conducted several knowledge sharing sessions to showcase its BeAware initiative to other GCC countries especially State of Kuwait, UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and have provided those countries with vital inputs related to the development of their relevant system. Though the solution itself was not transferred, it is possible to do that, thanks to cloud-based technologies, which help in speeding up the time-to-launch.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
The solution is indeed transferable, and the government is willing to share the knowledge accumulated especially in terms of the legal and business process insights, project management learnings as well as the technological insights during the various phases of the BeAware App i.e., Development, Rollout, Maintenance and Enhancement. Moreover, in a recent collaboration, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has integrated their COVID-19 app (Tawakalna) with BeAware Bahrain application to make traveling between the two countries easier by utilizing both apps as health passports.

Question 8

a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
- Human resources for development and support of the app. The core team included the project sponsor, project director, project manager, technical leaders, Graphic designer and user experience expert, requirement analyst, developers, database administrator, communication and marketing team members as well as numerous volunteers. - Volunteers to assist in the testing facility, at the airport and in random testing mobile units. -Cloud technology to host the application and its backend systems -Financial resources for raising awareness and marketing to educate the public
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
The app operations, such as alerting, monitoring and contact tracing, are totally automated without human intervention. Furthermore, it is adaptable based on the continuous changes in the pandemic situation. BeAware Bahrain has also shown the importance of expert-based decision-making process in the government. Additionally, a similar model can be used to analyze large datasets swiftly to help governments take the most appropriate decisions

Question 9

a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
Internally by the following teams from the Information & eGovernment Authority: • Quality Assurance team for testing the application and its supporting systems to ensure adhering to Quality standards. • Legal team to ensure that the operation and processing of collected data is inline with Bahrain’s data protection laws • Marketing, Content and Customer experience team to evaluate overall user experience based on usability standards. Externally by member of the National Taskforce to ensure that the requirements and criteria are implemented correctly. Also, it was audited by Bahrain Auditing Society to ensure there are no data privacy issues or vulnerabilities. It was also recognized by the WHO.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
Number of defects found and closed Number of test cases executed and the percentage of those successful Number of vulnerabilities identified and resolved Number of downloads Accuracy of contact tracing compared to random testing infection rates Tools included automated testing tools and vulnerability assessment tools.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
The KPIs identified were communicated with the relevant stakeholder. For example, developers worked to close all defects and vulnerabilities. This helped establish a baseline for the acceptable version to be approved for publishing. Moreover, the BeAware Bahrain app was ranked number 1 in the country for months. That encouraged to improve and add more relevant services to the app. Lastly, the accuracy of the contact tracing increased significantly (from 4% to 34%) after introducing the machine learning component compared to the very low rate of infection from Random testing (less than 4%)

Question 10

Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
The BeAware Bahrain and supporting systems are being managed based on the below matrix: Entity: Information & eGovernment Authority Role: Accountable &Responsible Activities: • Owner the App development process • Manage the development activities • Manage the communication between the different stakeholders • Manage the changes in processes and activities • Manage the change management activities • Technical Support of the Application and support systems • Update and apply any enhancements to the Application and the systems components • Ensure the application and system availability Entity: Ministry of Health Role: Responsible & Consulted Activities: • Confirm the business and process requirements • Provide the update processes and procedures • Provide the necessary approvals Entity: Ministry of Interior Role: Responsible & Consulted Activities: • Confirm the business and process requirements • Provide the update processes and procedures • Provide the necessary approvals Entity: National COVID-19 hotline Role: Responsible & Consulted Activities: • Confirm the business and process requirements • Provide the update processes and procedures • Provide the necessary approvals

Question 11

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
BeAware Bahrain is a classic example of Team Bahrain’s commitment towards the collective effort to mitigate the societal, economic and environmental challenges prevalent to COVID-19 and other national disasters. Since the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government was ready with its National Task Force and its plan to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 in its society and economy and identified the potential of Digital technologies in planning, preparing, mitigating and recovering from this Pandemic. Hence, BeAware Bahrain team was formulated with the best available inhouse resources from Government, private and civil society comprising of resources from technology, legal, health and other relevant business domains. The development and implementation of BeAware Bahrain App was led by the National Taskforce to contain the virus in collaboration with the following key stakeholders: a) Ministry of Health – Streamline the process and guidelines of contact tracing as well as vaccination. b) Ministry of Interior - Monitor Self-Isolated cases’ adherence to isolation guidelines. c) Information & eGovernment Authority – Develop, maintain and enhance the BeAware App by integrating emerging technologies. d) National COVID-19 Hotline to support organizing all the appointments for the Covid19 test, vaccination and to address any enquiry from the public.

Question 12

Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
The Strong Visionary Leadership made the BeAware Bahrain App a reality. The Government has reaped the fruits of its investments in strengthening the Digital infrastructure and building the capabilities of its taskforce. The diversification among the implementation team’s specializations and their work background opened room for creativity throughout the initiative. The App held the National Slogan to cover all activities associated with Pandemic containment. This made it self-promoted and reachable with less efforts although public awareness campaigns were conducted when required. The commitment of members of National Task Force added real value and helped detecting issues in early stages. The turnaround cycle was minimum since every constituent focused on outcomes to plan for the next step. This enabled the team to focus on enhancement of functionalities and to continuously improve the app while ensuring knowledge sharing to stakeholders both within and outside the Kingdom. The Government plans to take advantage of its vibrant tech savvy sociality and launch future technology-based initiatives to support other critical areas. The awareness level amongst all stakeholders has been raised and new implementations should come into effect to keep the momentum and bring more achievements into Kingdom’s Sustainable Development and help advance its Digital Strategy.

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