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Birth registration makes a difference in Mozambique

Boy in Mozambique showing his new and first birth certificate.Photo courtesy of Plan staff.
Boy in Mozambique showing his new and first birth certificate.

Photo courtesy of Plan staff.
April 21, 2010

In the United States, most people don’t think about the importance of birth registration. It is simply another form to fill out in the hospital and a slight inconvenience when you have to trek down to city hall with your tiny baby and wait in line for the official certificate.

However, in Mozambique and many areas of the world, birth registration is nonexistent. Without a birth certificate, children are denied many basic human rights and become easy targets for human traffickers. Without an identity, a person is almost impossible to trace.

In response, Plan has implemented a birth registration program aimed at registering the most marginalized and vulnerable communities. The project was split into two phases with both being extremely successful, reaching just under 100 percent of children in the targeted communities.

Delfina is a mother of three young children, from Mozambique, who took part in the project. She hopes that projects like this one will continue.

“Birth registration campaigns are very good, because they give the children the opportunity to have a document that proves their existence and provides a life in the future. Without the project I would not have money enough to pay the transport to the Jangamo village where the birth registration department is located and to pay the registration itself,” she said.

There are a number of reasons people in Mozambique do not register, including the far distance between communities and registration centers, lack of space by the government to organize the process, lack of personnel, shortage of financial resources, shortage of material resources, and cultural practices.

Joaquina, a woman from Mozambique who estimates her age to be around 45 years old, said: “I could not register my children when they were born because the registration post is very far from where we live and the costs of transport are very high.”

Now, with the help of Plan, Joaquina and her children are registered.