Amalaica Rosier has her birth certificate

In Haiti, one in six children is not registered at birth

Ndiaga Seck
Italia et son enfant
UNICEF Haiti /2020/Edler
01 février 2021

Italia Joseph has decided to register her daughter’s birth at the civil registry office. The 40-year-old woman, resident of Claire Heureuse in Grand’Anse, was motivated by the awareness campaign conducted in her village by volunteers for the NGO Departmental Initiative against Child Trafficking (IDETTE). “I really liked this campaign because civil registry documents are so important for my child. Once she’s an adult, it would be very difficult for her to get a birth certificate. A child should get their birth certificate at birth. They ask you to show it everywhere you go,” she said, before getting on a motorcycle taxi with her husband to head to the Anse d´Hainault registry office.

Chokarella

In Haiti, one in six children is not registered at birth. With funding from Canada, UNICEF seeks to reverse the trend. An awareness-raising campaign was launched, as well as material and technical support given to civil registry offices to improve the working conditions for civil registry staff to receive community members. Material support included the state mandated birth registers needed to establish birth certificates. In order to get as many parents as possible to register their children, volunteers from UNICEF partner NGOs IDETTE and the Citizen's Initiative for Human Rights (ICDH) go to rural areas to inform communities of the importance of birth registration.

“Community awareness raising is difficult due to the long distances. To get to some remote locations, you must ride on a motorbike for one hour and walk three to four hours,” explained Steven Jean Phillippe, protection officer at IDETTE. "We go to these places because we are committed to serving the population, so that parents register children at birth."

Italia Joseph et son mari sont devant Dumas Jean Félix, l’Officier d’état civil d’Anse d’Hainault pour enregistrer leur bébé Amalaica Rosier.
UNICEF Haiti/2020/Edler
Italia Joseph et son mari sont devant Dumas Jean Félix, l’Officier d’état civil d’Anse d’Hainault pour enregistrer leur bébé Amalaica Rosier.

In August 2019, we met the Civil registry officer, Mr. Dumas Jean Félix, of Anse d’Hainault who  was concerned about the insufficient human resources and equipment to do his job properly. This year, he is pleased to have received some support. “We are very happy because our office has been lacking in equipment for years,” he said. “Thanks to UNICEF, the office is operational. I can receive everyone. People who come to register births will now have more confidence in the capabilities of the civil registry officer and clerk,” he added.

Italia Joseph et son époux sont fiers d’exhiber l’acte de naissance de leur fille Amalaica Rosier.
UNICEF Haiti /2020/ Edler
Italia Joseph et son époux sont fiers d’exhiber l’acte de naissance de leur fille Amalaica Rosier.

In Haiti, UNICEF is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Justice and Public Security to increase the rate of birth registration, one of the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean. United Nations Volunteer and UNICEF Child Protection Officer, Momo Anicet Soffack, works with civil society and Government partners to better understand needs and plan required activities. In addition, trainings are organized to improve knowledge and quality of services. "We are working with implementing partners to further strengthen the capacities of all actors involved in the birth registration sector, for the advancement of the project within the different target locations," specified Mr. Soffack.

Italia Joseph's daughter is Amalaica Rosier. Her name is registered in a civil registry and she is officially declared Haitian. Her birth certificate is the first step in giving her access to all other children's rights.