Birth Certificiate Pilot Project

To relief the population who are suffering from the armed conflict that has been going on since 2016, this project was initiated to facilitate the establishments of birth certificates for children in the conflict zones.
This project was informed the economic crisis stemming from the armed conflicts and the needs for children especially those born within the crisis period to have an identity. The Birth certificate project was piloted in Bamessing – Ndop in Ngoketunjia Division of the North West region benefiting over 312 children.
The first activity of this project was awareness raising and sensitization. Our staff and some volunteers from the various villages were dispatched to the various communities to sensitize the population and educate them on the importance of children having birth certificates. Some of the benefits of children having birth certificates highlighted were;
  • To give children an identity
  • Facilitate the registration or enrollment of children in schools and other courses
  • Facilitated the establishment of passports for children in future when they need to travel out of the country
  • And above all a fulfillment of their human rights
    Sensitization activities were done in health centers during post and pre-natal clinics sessions and in communities during gatherings. The parents acknowledged and appreciated the knowledge shared but expressed their fears of accessing the administrations due to threats from secessionists. They also expressed the economic challenges as many of them had lost their businesses and jobs and could hardly afford money to survive talk less of producing birth certificates for their new born babies.
At the level of the communities, some of the children did not have birth certificates because their documents had been burnt in their homes especially during military raids.
During and after sensitization sessions, the children were registered for the establishment of the certificate. The registration was done using a form we designed – the birth certificate extract form. To fill this form, the identity cards of the parents were required.
During this registration process we also came across another effect of this crisis which is an increase in child-mothers. We came across young girls who had been sexually violated and had to bear children at their very young ages. Most of them appeared as single mothers. In such cases a representative from their family or their own fathers stood as the child’s father.
The registration process was also facilitated by the community school administrators. We made contacts with the schools administrators and they could sort out children who did not have birth certificates.
Establishment of the certificates
The establishment of the birth certificates was done at the level of the municipal councils. Using the birth certificate extracts the council staffs filled the birth certificate forms and the mayor signed. These were eventually handed to the beneficiaries in their communities.

Impact and results sustained

This project has created a positive feedback in the communities and in the lives of the beneficiaries and their parents;- Firstly, through sensitization and awareness raising activities, the parents have understood the importance of their children having birth certificates. Some of the parents were ill-informed and did not see the need for birth certificates. The knowledge gained would continue to be shared and many more parents will benefit.
Secondly, some of the children are now effectively enrolled in school. They have their birth certificates and would eventually seat for public examinations without problems of lack of identity or legal documentation. In fact some of the children we assisted with birth certificates were now able to register and seat for the First School Leaving Certificate Examinations.
And thirdly, the issuance of birth certificates have in all given the children a legal existence and nationality. It is from these birth certificates that the children will grow and be able to make their national identity cards and passports for those who will be travelling out of the country.
We remain very grateful to the donors for sponsoring this project. As mentioned above the execution of this project has not only been a relief to the parents but has also paved the way for the future of the children as they might embark in their various studies and carriers. Given the magnitude of the crisis, these beneficiaries and many more that would be benefiting indirectly would not have had these documents should we not have intervened.
The plights of the parents and children regarding birth certificates is not only in Bamessing-Ndop, but it is a general issue in this conflict hit regions. Many people are unable to access the administration to register the birth of their children and others have no means because they have lost their economic activities. We pray that this project could eventually be extended to other areas.
Maimo Divine Suinyuy CD, KforC Cameroon.
Eva Boeree

(Nederlands) Eva Boeree
(Nederlands) Waterprojecten

Buea Town
(Nederlands) Geboortecertificaat project

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