Ethiopian children are entitled to celebrate their birthday. AICS – UNICEF Project on the right of minors to identity

With a national registration rate of 3% children registered, Ethiopia is one of the countries with the lowest levels of birth registration. With no proof of age or identity, children do not have the minimal protection needed against violence, abuse and exploitation.

From 10 to 13 June 2018, the monitoring mission of the "Project to Strengthen the Civil Registration System for the Children’s Right to Identity: Identification for Development (ID)” for the Oromia Region, has been organized by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), as implementing partner of the initiative.

Through implementing an evidence-based set of interventions aligned with national laws and international standards, the project intends to contribute to improved delivery and access to civil registration and certification services for the target population, and increased efficiencies and effectiveness. Specifically, the project aims to improve the system of civil registrations in the regions of Oromia and SNNP, by also ensuring the right to identity of children born in remote rural areas.

Trainings of civil registras and Health Extension Workers (HEW) as well as awareness raising activities (Community Conversations), have contributed to birth registrations becoming a more common practice in the region.

The mission has allowed to observe the whole birth registration procedure starting from the birth of the child. Thanks to a consolidated collaboration between local health workers and registras, mothers can now receive a document certifying the birth of their children directly at the health facilities. The notification paper is then presented to the nearest registration office to obtain the official birth certificate.

In order to raise awareness on the importance of birth registration, meetings have been organized both with registras and the community. The commitment and interest of the registras to provide a quality service has been observed together with the skills they acquired through trainings. The families gathered were consulted about the value they attribute to identity.

Most of the women seemed proud to show the birth certificate of their children, which allows the child to know his/her age, unlike the majority of the mothers who often do not have this basic information.

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