Birth registration is a child’s right

A name and nationality is every child’s right, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international treaties. Yet the births of nearly one-fourth of children under the age of five worldwide have never been recorded. This lack of formal recognition by the State usually means that a child is unable to obtain a birth certificate. As a result, he or she may be denied healthcare or education. Later in life, the lack of official identification documents can mean that a child may enter into marriage or the labour market, or be conscripted into the armed forces, before the legal age. Registering children at birth is the first step in securing their recognition before the law, safeguarding their rights, and ensuring that any violation of these rights does not go unnoticed.

Most countries have mechanisms in place for registering births. However, coverage, the type of information obtained and the use of resulting data can differ, based on a country’s infrastructure, administrative capacity, availability of funds, access to the population and technology for data management. Rates of registration vary substantially among countries, due to these and other factors.

Large differences can be found in the coverage of birth registration among regions. Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) has the highest level of birth registration, with 98 percent of children under 5 registered. This is followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, at 92 percent, and the Middle East and North Africa, at 87 per cent.

The lowest levels of birth registration are found in sub-Saharan Africa (41 per cent). In Eastern and Southern Africa, only 36 percent of children are registered by their fifth birthday, while the rate in West and Central Africa is slightly higher, at 45 percent.

 

Percentage of children under age five whose births are registered by region.

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Source: UNICEF

 

Many UNICEF country offices are exploring the use of mobile communications technologies, including cell phones, to increase birth registration coverage. As a result, access to reliable data in real time is being used for planning and decision-making.

Mobile and digital technology can be used to obtain timely, accurate and permanent records.

In Uganda, UNICEF and a private sector partner, Uganda Telecom, are piloting a mobile and web-based technology to digitise birth records, making the birth registration process faster, more accessible and more reliable.

Cambodia case study

According to the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) 2010, just over 62 percent of children under five are registered in Cambodia, which is lower than the 2005 figure of 65 per cent. CDHS 2010 also shows a huge gap in birth registration between urban and rural, and between the rich and the poor. 60 percent of children live in rural area registered their birth comparing to 74 percent of children living in urban. There is gap between the rich and the poor as well with only 48 percent of the poorest children registered as opposed to 78 percent of the richest as shown in the graph.

Since 2011 MOI, with UNICEF support, has been implementing a pilot initiative in 32 communes of three districts in Kampong Speu, Prey Veng, and Svay Rieng Provinces to model the most effective ways to address the issues that cause low levels of birth registration. The pilot outcomes will also guide key stakeholders for policy and programme adaptation.

There are many reason for this situation:

  • Lower value of and demand for birth certificates
  • The form/design of the birth certificate is not durable especially for rural families, who are at higher risk of damage and loss.
  • Communes and districts often experience a shortage of birth certificate supplies causing inconsistency and delays in providing birth registration services.
  • Parents find the process of birth registration of newborn children – especially late registration – complicated and rigid.
  • The paper-based, manual monitoring and reporting system leads to poor data management, low information quality and irregular or late information flow.

One of the recommended action is to implement a monthly routine outreach and real-time reporting of birth registration through short-messaging services (SMS).

To help solve this issue, UNICEF Cambodia together with General Department of Identification (GDI) set up a pilot IVR platform using a combination of RapidPro and the cloud communication channels Twilio and Nexmo. This solution would, for the first time, help ensure communes would never be out of stock and babies could be registered as soon as possible – a vital protection method for children.

Each month commune clerks report the number of forms and/or books in stock either by responding to the automated monthly calls initiated by RapidPro or by calling the system. The data is then analysed by RapidPro. If the numbers of forms or books in stock are below a certain threshold, RapidPro will automatically notify the district level by SMS and the province level and GDI by email. The district officers in charge of re-supplying forms and books receive SMS notifications on communes that need restocking, helping to ensure communes will be equipped to register all children.

RapidPro is being used all over the world in a variety of ways to assist children and families, supported by UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre (GIC). The GIC acts as a centre of excellence that is powered by a growing global network of UNICEF offices, specialists and allies dedicated to using technology that can have a large-scale impact on the lives of children.

 

Photo Credit: Margherita Dametti for COOPI

Source: https://blogs.unicef.org/east-asia-pacific/harnessing-mobile-technology-improve-birth-registration-systems-cambodia/

 

ICT4D champions at work, devising innovative solutions for Development

On April 10th, the long-term online training course “ICT Innovations for Development” ended with a Public BarCamp. In this occasion, the 23 selected participants who got the scholarship (among the 480 applications we received from all over the world) had the opportunity to present their ICT4D Final Projects and to win the chance for seed-funding.

by Viviana Brun

 

This 2nd edition of the “ICT Innovations for Development” training course aimed to support the theoretical and practical development of participants in the field of Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D), as well as to support their critical thinking towards existing initiatives, methods and tools; and enhance their ability to develop, adopt and re-appropriate various technologies and social innovation methodologies for local, national or international development.

ICT4D: the final step

ict4d barcamp

It was a long journey – from November 2016 to April 2017 – made up of eight Modules, 28 lectures by world-renowned lecturers, dozens of module assignments. After the training period, the participants were invited to put into practice the knowledge and the skills the got from the training sessions. Therefore, since March 2017, they worked on different real-life case studies proposed by six Italian NGOs (CISV, LVIA, ProgettoMondo Mlal, Amici dei Popoli ONG, AIFO, CeLIM Milano) aiming to develop ICT-oriented solutions in the different countries and contexts they are working with and for. During the final Barcamp, the participants were invited to present and showcase the mock-up, prototypes and innovative strategies they developed in teams, during the last full month.

A Judging Panel, composed by Cristina Toscano (Fondazione Cariplo), Ilaria Caramia (Compagnia di San Paolo), Josh Harvey (CARE) and Gianluca Lazzolino (Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Oxford) was in charge of evaluating all the projects and selecting the most advanced one.

The winner team was made up of Alice Mantoani, Mohamed Amine Chriyaa, Stefano Battain, Adelaide Strada ed Enrico Marescotti. This team worked on “ARePAG” project, aiming to increased resilience capacity of small-scale producers of rice, vegetables and yams in Haute Guinée. Our ICT Champions focused on evaluating and prototype the use of ICTs for improving the supply chain and the logistic systems.

 

Here is the storify of the event:
Schermata 2017-04-13 alle 09.52.10

The overall journey

The whole path of this long training course was organised and coordinated by Ron Salaj, digital activist and member of the team of ONG2.0. The final BarCamp offered the opportunity to retrace with him the main steps, the goals and the overall spirit of this course.

“Well, I think that the course tried to provide the latest trends in ICT tools, practical skills, field-examples, methodologies, frameworks, and knowledge – sometimes even specific expertise through guest speakers – that can help participants expand and strengthen their existing toolbox on a variety of fields: from social innovation and tech4dev to data collection, mapping and emergencies, human rights and democracy, health, education, financial equality and inclusion and, agriculture”, Ron said.

“However, under the circumstances of daily and global crises we are living, the keyword should be courage. As French philosopher, Alain Badiou writes -courage is not being too quickly discouraged- and, precisely in this, the ICT Innovations for Development course aimed also to reconstitute the courage and to orient participants work locally. Seeing the work that has been done in the past 6 months, since the course has started, it gave me courage that another world is possible, or rather another development or cooperation is possible – one that can be focused locally and singularly but, that can be always transmitted globally and universally”, concluded Ron.

The winning team’s plans for the future

We interviewed Alice Mantoani, one of the members of the winning team, about her impression of the training course, the teamwork and on how they were able to coordinate each other, working remotely, from different countries and time zones.

Alice started talking about the overall experience. What convinced her the most – in addition to the validity and internationality of the professors – was the marked practical aspect of the course.

“The -to do- part was put in the first place since the beginning, through the practical demonstrations of teachers, but most thanks to the teamwork, which was based on real projects.”

One of the most appreciated aspects that Alice reported is the heterogeneity of the class.

“Thanks to the online mode, it was possible to put together a professional team, made up of various profiles from different contexts and areas of expertise, while being all part of the same large field of development cooperation.”

Finally, Alice explained how all members have collaborated actively, dividing their time between moments of sharing with the rest of the team – “of course via Skype, being scattered all over the globe – and moments of individual work, during which everyone has to focused on specific tasks.”

“I have to admit that I had a pretty tough team! – Alice added with enthusiasm – We were all good, despite the tight deadline and the great personal work that each of us has faced. Despite the small problems we encountered on our path, I think the project has been developed in a comprehensive manner. Most of the work has already been done, now we just need to simplify it and put it into practice. We already have some ideas on how to use the funds and how to operationalize this project and we plan to start as soon as possible!”

 

The course was organised by Ong 2.0 within the project “Innovation for Development” supported by Fondazione Cariplo and Compagnia San Paolo, in partnership with Opes Impact Fund, Fondazione Acra, We Make, Ouagalab, Fablab To, ISI Foundation, Fondazione Politecnico di MilanoNexa Center, Università di Torino and Politecnico di Torino.