During the whole month of August, children were the main participants in a programme to inform families about the importance of registering the births of their children, conducted by the goverment in collaboration with UNICEF.
A message from the very ones concerned
The children taking part in the project sit on the Children’s Committees in the 24 Ville-Province communes of Kinshasa. Over the four week-ends, 11 children in each commune were to register at least 5 families each, having any child between the ages of 0 to 18 years.
The procedure involved obtaining information from the families to pass along to commune officers who will come to register the children’s births. Proxy forms were given to families with children younger than 90 days of age.
A day in the field
We are now in the commune of Bandalungwa with the children who are on the Children’s Committee for this commune. The day started with a brief overview given by the coordinator whose role it was to accompany the children in the field. We took off at 12:00 sharp!
On the way, we met a young pregnant woman with a baby. Victoire, the treasurer for the Bandalungwa Commitee, hurried to ask her if her baby’s birth was registered. Unfortunately, it was not: Victoire then obtained the information from the Mom and filled out a proxy form to allow her to register her child.
Then we went from door to door. The parents were very welcoming and were interested in hearing what the children had to say. In less than an hour, each one had reached the goal of registering the births of 5 children, a truly amazing feat!
Voices from the field
We continued on to the Ngiri-Ngiri commune where we met the children on this commune’s Committee. We were able to obtain some of their comments while they conducted their activities.
I really like going door to door with my friends because we can do something good for society and enjoy being together at the same time
The parents were happy to see us and asked us to come in and sit down. Even on the street, parents were really interested in what we were doing
In one section, a mother had a hard time remembering the birthdates of her children. That made collecting our information difficult
Dear parents, don’t forger to register your children’s births to give them their right to their identity !
More info about birth reigstration in DRC
The 2013-14 Demographic and Health Survey indicates that only 2e5% of children under five are registered within the civil registry, and only 14% have a birth certificate. This is due to the registration system struggling to reach new-borns, especially in conflict zones. The Birth Registration Programme focusses on systematising the registration of new-borns by reconciling health services with those of the Civil Registry. Additional Civil Registry offices are also being established to increase the accessibility of services by reducing travel time. UNICEF also carries out “catch-up” activities for the most vulnerable children who have exceeded the legal registration deadline of 90 days, especially those released from armed forces and armed groups, and victims of SGBV.
Thanks to Canada (GAC) for its support to birth registration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo !
Translated by Marguerite McMillan
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