NGO embarks on birth certificate access drive

Source: NGO embarks on birth certificate access drive | The Sunday News October 13, 2019

NGO embarks on birth certificate access drive

Thobekile Khumalo, Sunday News Reporter

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Basilwizi Trust has embarked on a campaign to assist undocumented children living along the Zambezi Valley to access birth certificates as part of its efforts to enable them to enrol in schools as well as according them citizenship rights.

Basilwizi Trust director Mr Christopher Mweembe said through its Citizens Campaign for Birth Identity Documents (CICABID) project, the organisation has identified more than 300 undocumented people in Binga.

“Birth registration particulars are essential documents, which are a requirement in all aspects of life. There are many challenges affecting the people of the Zambezi Valley owing to lack of birth certificates. The key to the development of the Zambezi Valley is hinged on the promotion of the children’s rights and their access to basic needs and services in the education and health sector. Government and NGOs educational aids can only fund identifiable persons, meaning children without any documentation are exempted from the assistance despite their intelligence,” he said.

Mr Mweembe said a Zimbabwe Statistics (Zimstat) 2015 report indicated that only 38 percent of the children born in the country were registered at birth.

“According to the Zimstat 2015 report only 38 percent of children were registered at their first birth nationally. This prompted Basilwizi and Trace to conduct a baseline survey in Binga in 2017 to measure the impact of birth certificate registration on access to education and other social services for children leading to the development of the CICABID project.

“From the baseline survey it emerged that 43 percent of the children were unregistered. Lack of access to identification particulars by community members was one of the major findings. This is a result of people lacking information on how to access identification particulars and also having to travel long distances to the Registration offices in the district,” said Mr Mweembe.

CICABID project activities include information sharing, spreading awareness on early birth registration within six weeks of the birth of the child to avoid expiration of the birth confirmation record, awareness campaigns through sports, mobile registration, edutainment through school clubs with a bias to birth certificate as a right.

CICABID project officer Mr Danisa Mudimba said their target was to attain a 16 percent reduction in children under the age of five without birth certificates.

“We hope that by the end of this project there will be a reduction by 16 percent of children between 0-5 years without birth certificates and that the Government would have increased birth registration offices as well as reviewed the Birth and Death Registration Act to reduce the stumbling block to the birth registration process,” he said.

Basilwizi Trust is involved in a number of humanitarian works in the communities of Binga, Gokwe North, Hwange and Nyaminyami districts as it seeks to enable the underprivileged members of the society to realise their own development and emancipation from extreme poverty through community led interventions.