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Child Birth Registration Campaigns

Child Birth Registration Campaigns

Birth registration is the first acknowledgement of a child’s existence as an individual with rights and needs. It acknowledges a child’s right to be counted, secures recognition before the law and makes him or her less vulnerable to exploitation. Without birth registration, a child may be denied inheritance, healthcare or education. In times of disaster it can be a critical tool for locating children and their families and providing the services they need to rebuild their lives. Birth registration is also a tool to help prevent child marriage, labour and use in combat. Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states the importance of registering a child at birth.
The SCAP’s project (CSD/CAP Kalat -2004) baseline survey showed birth registration rates in the district to be minimal, with no significant difference between boys and girls. Surveyed areas in Mangocher had no birth registrations at all. Kalat Saddar, where there were 69 live births, had 10 and Surab Saddar had 19 registrations and in Kalat, only 3 of 501 children surveyed had been registered. Most respondents (95 per cent) were unaware of the need for birth registration.

The reasons included:

Lack of awareness.      The benefits of registration were unclear or simply unknown. This was reinforced by the procedure, wherein the birth was recorded in a register and certificates were not issued.

Difficult procedure.      Births were registered by the office of the Union Council Nazim. Parents were required to pay a fee and fill out forms at the union council office during its short opening hours. In a sparsely populated district with low literacy, the perceived benefit was far outweighed by the effort required.

Apparent substitutes. In Surab, Group Facilitators reported that dentists and doctors charged heavily for identity cards when children reached adulthood.
To improve birth registration, Group Facilitators trained to persuade parents and family elders of the importance of “giving every child an identity” and of passing on this message to others in the community. To emphasize this, the project developed a certificate and issued to the family.
Union Council Nazims were persuaded to waive their Rs 10 signing fee, and SCAP volunteers went regularly from house to house, helping parents fill out forms and depositing them at the union council office. In the first phase of birth registration alone, 3,910 children were registered in the twelve original villages: a rate of 97 per cent registration. As a result, Birth Registration risen dramatically. Between 2004 and 2007, there were over 34,000 registrations, of which over 26,000 were from the project’s focus union councils. Older children were also registered under this intervention.