GUEST BLOGGER – The Province of Kasai Oriental, in its former configuration, has one of the lowest rates of child registration in the civil records throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): only 11% of births are recorded there (Demographic and Statistical Survey 2013).
Trevor, registered in the civil records at age 14
Trevor, 14 years old, fatherless since the age of 5, is one of the many children without a birth certificate. His parents did not register him in the civil records by the deadline, probably due to a lack of information on the need and the obligation promulgated by law to register all births.
At the death of father, Trevor, abandoned by his mother, was entrusted to his already elderly grandmother. She also did not register him in the civil records. When his grandmother died, no family member wished to take care of the child; he found himself at the Père Lufuluabu Shelter, a center which supervises vulnerable children. It was there that, finally, at 14 years old, he was able to be registered in the civil records and have a birth certificate, thanks to an intervention by UNICEF.
United to catch up on birth registration in Kasai
In the framework of its work on child protection, UNICEF supports the government in the implementation of a system for birth registrations. The first objective is to make birth registration a habit for parents; they have a 3-month deadline during which the registration is free. Yet, considering the very high percentage of children who were never registered in the civil records, UNICEF organizes catch-up sessions in collaboration with the government.
For this, the Divisions of the Interior and of Social Affairs have initiated, with UNICEF’s support, a series of public hearings in the different orphanages in the town of Mbuji-Mayi. In this way, more than 1,900 vulnerable children received their birth certificates at no cost.
A birth certificate: a hope for the future
Trevor is one of these 1,900 children. Thanks to this process, he was able to claim his right to an identity, as set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Too many children are deprived of this right and much work remains to be done.
Today, Trevor is happy and has understood the advantages to being registered, thanks to the sensitization done during the public hearings. He is studying and would like to become a priest. In this way, he will be able to talk about civil records registration both at the time of birth and at the religious baptism of children: all of the faithful of his church will register their children from birth.
More info about birth registration :
André, journaliste de Mbuji-Mayi, est coordinateur adjoint du RJAE au Kasaï Oriental. Il lutte pour la promotion des droits de l’Enfant et pour l’accompagnement des enfants dans l’accomplissement de leurs rêves.
, a journalist from Mbuji-Mayi, is adjunct coordinator of the Friends of the Child Journalists Network (RJAE) in Kasaï Oriental. He fights for the promotion of the Rights of the Child and supports children in the fulfilment of their dreams.
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- Toward catching up on birth registrations in Kasai: Trevor’s story - 9 October 2017