Village surveys carried out by our partner organisation, Kamben, found that in villages surrounding Niokolo-Koba National Park between 25%-50% of children do not have a birth certificate. This can be attributed to parents being unaware of the importance of registering the birth of their children, not being sure how to register the births of their children and lacking confidence in the process, and/or being put off by the costs of both time and money.
But without birth registration children are unable to sit government exams and must drop out of school before completing their primary education. Later on in life they will be prevented from getting formal employment, their access to health care will be impacted and they will be unable to vote, get a bank account, or get a national ID document or passport.
To make the process of getting a birth certificate easier, Niokolo Network and Kamben are facilitating rural birth registration events. This takes the registration event to the rural villages rather than whole villages having to travel to the nearest town, which can be over 100km away. Niokolo Network and Kamben have also produced a film discussing the importance and process of having a birth certificate, they provide administration support during the registration process and work with village leaders after the registration event to make sure that new born babies are registered within the correct time period and following the correct process. This programme has only been running since 2019, but it has been a great success and we are looking forward to replicating this in many more villages, giving every child the opportunity to get an education.