Helping African childrens

More Info

Famine in Africa: massive displacement, children dying on a road The humanitarian situation in East Africa is getting darker due to the wave of famine that led to the displacement of thousands in search of sustenance

The problems are more acute in some African countries in particular: for example, only 3% of children in Somalia, 4% in Liberia, and 7% in Ethiopia have official documents. Enrollment levels vary widely within countries, whether in Africa or elsewhere.

Children born in rural areas and who often live far from administrative centers are less likely to be registered than those who live in cities. Income is another factor in these problems. The families of the poorest 20% of children are more likely than others to be left out when they take formal action. Children from ethnic minorities are also less likely to appear on the civil records.

We are aware of the main reasons for not registering. Many families, either due to lack of education or ignorance, are satisfied with the official procedures, with some rituals and ceremonies or even birth records that are handed over to hospitals. Political crises, wars and internal displacement add to the problems; Where families fleeing to safety with their children are not interested in registering them properly.

But the consequences could be disastrous, as unregistered children are born alive and die unknown. And because their physical and legal presence cannot be observed by the national authorities in many African countries, they are often judged to live on the margins of society.

Children who do not have a birth certificate cannot prove their age, parentage, or identity, or obtain official documents such as a passport. It is very difficult for them to obtain basic services such as health care, education and social assistance.

These children are also the most vulnerable to discrimination and ill-treatment, and because they cannot prove their age, they often fall victim to child labor or trafficking, as for girls, they fall victim to forced marriage.

As African governments strive to increase their population registration rates, they must keep two basic principles in mind. First, although there is no single solution that fits all the differences in registration between and within different countries, successful policies in one place may inspire governments in another.

For example, some countries, including Ivory Coast, have established "mobile hearings" that travel across the country and give unregistered persons the opportunity to obtain a birth certificate.

Moreover, developing effective and sustainable initiatives requires the full commitment of African governments, decision-makers and NGOs, as well as the continued commitment and support of international agencies.

Campaign Wall

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or