Birth registration programme improves the lives of the population of Meponda in Niassa

"Now I feel that I am already someone in society and I can even access banking services via mobile phone."

Claudio Fauvrelle
Programa de registo de nascimento traz melhoria a vida da população de Meponda em Niassa
Light for the World/2021/Eduardo Mendes
29 September 2021

Meponda, Niassa - "The biggest problem I face is the fact that my children cannot go to school, so they are forced to work with me when I go fishing in the lake," said Momade Mateus, 49 years old, married with six (6) children. Momade lives in Meponda, a small village 60 kilometres from Lichinga, in Niassa province.

One of the problems preventing Momade’s children from continuing to attend school was the lack of official identification documents, which meant that they did not have a birth certificate and identity card which is necessary to stay in school until the end of the year. 

To help Momade's family and also reach over 200,000 people, aged from 0 to 60 years, in five districts of Niassa, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Embassy of Norway to Mozambique signed a financial agreement in 2019 for US $1.7 million to fund the much-needed programme of legal identity, the "Right to Have Rights" programme, that will support birth registration and civil identification in Niassa province. The programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, that between 2020 and 2021, helped 26,690 children and 12,679 adults have access to birth registration and 18,996 children and 20,740 adults to have identity cards in Niassa province.

Since the programme started in the village of Meponda, it has been possible for people to acquire official documentation, which has improved the lives of the population. "I used to live only from fishing, but now I was hired to work in construction sites as a bricklayer because I already have the necessary documents," said Momade.

This programme will ensure that the people of Meponda have the right to be recognised as national citizens by law. This is enshrined in Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 16 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Mozambique has ratified, also recognizes the right of a child to registration immediately after birth, to be designated a name and to acquire citizenship. Furthermore, the programme will contribute directly to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by all Member States in September 2015, which established the specific SDG target 16.9 – “legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030.”

"The programme has also greatly improved my children's lives because to have a consultation at the health centre it was necessary to have an identification document, a birth certificate or identity card, and today I can take my children to the health centre without any problem. Now I feel that I am already someone in society and I can even access banking services via mobile phone," concluded Momade.