Ivory Coast: Aide et Action is raising awareness about the importance of birth registration
Just a few weeks ago in the town of Katiola in Ivory Coast, Aide et Action launched an awareness campaign, as part of the project Local and International Solidarity for Development through Education (SOLIDE). Workshops aim to make parents aware about the importance of birth registration of their children. This situation goes beyond the borders of Ivory Coast and constitutes a concern on a global scale.
The right to an identity is of such importance that it appears in article 7 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC): “The child is registered as soon as it is born and it has the right to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know his/her parents and to be brought up by them”. 1 Thirty years after the ratification of this historic text, the figures are still alarming. Indeed, even today, 230 million children under the age of five are not registered and 1 in 7 children registered in the world do not have a birth certificate confirming their identity, according to the UNESCO. Five years ago, when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted, the United Nations reaffirmed the importance of this right by making birth registration a priority in international development. Indeed, SDG 16 includes a target that specifically aims to ensure legal identity for all, including through birth registration, by 2030 (target 16.9). 2
Lack of identity: a major concern
For several years, Aide et Action has developed education projects for citizenship and international solidarity. Research conducted within the framework of our multi-territory project (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso), SOLIDE / ESI (Enfants Sans Identités = Children without identity) made it possible to identify the different causes of non-declaration of births: parents’ lack of financial means for administrative procedures, home births in certain remote districts, ignorance or simply ignoring the importance of a birth certificate, physical distance from birth declaration services. Deprived of access to education, but also to health and social rights, these children are in a situation of extreme vulnerability. The SOLIDE project aims to acknowledge, communicate and raise awareness about the situation of children without identity and the impact it can have on them, as well as on the development of a country. It also encourages sustainable dynamics of dialogue and exchange between educational stakeholders (students, teachers, authorities).
Parents as carriers of change?
In Katiola in Ivory Coast Aide et Action works in collaboration with a local NGO, within the framework of the SOLIDE / ESI project (Children without identity). A few weeks ago, awareness workshops for parents of students who do not have birth certificates were organized. In addition to the informative nature of these meetings, the project also provides financial and technical support to parents for obtaining and regularizing birth certificates. Launched in 2019, 2 schools have already benefited from the SOLIDE project, i.e. 567 children. Mr. Kanté, Pedagogical Advisor of Inspection for the municipality of Katiola welcomes the initiative and encourages all stakeholders (both administrative and customary authorities, and parents) to work for the sustainability of the actions of this project, because he says “when children are without identities, the consequences are dramatic”.