Free birth certificates in Burkina Faso
Five million people in Burkina Faso will receive free birth certificates in the next year following a sustained Plan campaign.
Plan has already provided birth certificates to 250,000 children in the country since 2004 but now a $5,000,000 government program will allow many more of the country's 14 million people to claim a legal identity.
In an interview with the BBC World Service, Nadya Kassam (Plan's Global Advocacy Manager) talks about why Plan is supporting a government drive to register five million more people in the next year in Burkina Faso. Listen to Nadya talk about the benefits of having a birth certificate.
Removing barriersIn addition to removing the USD$1 registration fee that has been a major factor in stopping the poorest families from applying for birth certificates, the program will also seek to specifically help women and children, often the last to receive documentation.
Without birth certificates to prove their age and that they legally exist, children cannot get a place at school and are vulnerable to trafficking, child labor and underage marriage. Families cannot access social services and many say they have faced police harassment when traveling as they don’t have ID cards.
Reaching remote areasAndre Dembele, head of the government’s Committee on Birth Certificates, believes it is a basic human right to be legally registered. He says will make employees available to deliver birth certificates to even the remotest villages to speed up the process.
With the help of Plan, registration rates in Burkina Faso have already increased from 33 percent to 44 percent. Plan has equipped civil registry offices with guides and typewriters, and worked to educate people about the importance of birth registration.
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Universal Birth Registration
A ticket to citizenship