In the U.S., people can use their birth certificate, driver’s license, or passport to prove who they are. But about 1 billion people worldwide lack official proof of identity. Many are women in low-income countries. Without legal identity, everyday tasks like opening a bank account or buying a cell phone can become impossible.
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Nyamwange, who’s originally from Kenya and now lives in Illinois, wanted to find a solution to this problem. She invented Etana, a solar-powered fingerprint scanner. The device creates a digital proof of identity—without requiring access to internet or electricity.