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Count Every Child

Children stand with their birth registration cards at Mirtinga Tea Estate in Maulavi Bazar, Sylhet. - © UNICEF/BANA2012-02020/Mawa

A birth certificate is a child's 'membership card' for society that should open the door to the enjoyment of other rights.

Improving registration coverage depends upon a country's political will to implement change in the interest of its children. Measures introduced to increase demand for registration from the population must be matched by efforts to ensure supply by the administration.

§ Legislation and enforcement
Free and compulsory birth registration and a free birth certificate should be provided for every child without discrimination. Comprehensive laws for registering births must be rigorously enforced.

§ Attitudes, customs and practices
Awareness-raising campaigns particularly in remote areas where parents often do not see the benefits that birth registration would confer on their children.

§ Open discussion
NGOs, the private sector and the media can play an important role in making families and communities aware of the importance of birth registration and the steps involved in the process.

§ Children's life skills, knowledge and participation
Explaining the value of birth registration to older unregistered children can help them encourage their parents to secure their late registration and also the registration of their younger siblings. It can also motivate these children to register their own future children.

§ Capacity of families and communities
Local registration facilities should be decentralised, accessible and have adequate capacity to meet the needs of families and communities. Support for systems for birth registration ranges from the training of service providers at the community level to the provision of essential supplies for registration, such as birth registration forms.

§ Monitoring, reporting and oversight
Local birth registration services need to be integrated with a central database to ensure adequate recording, transmission, backup and safe keeping of data, as well as to protect the privacy of this information.





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