396,000 more children to receive birth certificates through a simplified birth registration system in Kigoma Region, Tanzania

03 October 2023

KIGOMA, 03 October 2023 – Today, Kigoma Region rolled out the Simplified Birth Registration System for registering all newborns and children under the age of five in the region. 

Over the next 30 days, more than 396,000 children under the age of five are expected to receive their birth certificates, ensuring their rightful recognition by the law and their right to an identity.

Birth registration plays a crucial role in granting children access to essential social services and increasing their protection from exploitation and harmful practices. With a current population of almost 2.5 million (Census 2022) in Kigoma Region, birth registration is essential for its more than 440,000 children under the age of five, who account for almost 18 per cent of the population. However, only 10.5 per cent of these children currently possess a birth certificate. 

Initially launched in 2013, the simplified birth registration system is implemented by the Government of Tanzania’s Registration Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) in collaboration with UNICEF, Tigo and Global Affairs Canada. To make it easier for families to access the birth registration services, the system is set up as a ‘one step, one visit’ process, bringing birth registration closer to the community.  

While previously registration was limited to district headquarters, the new decentralised birth registration system establishes registration points at community health facilities providing reproductive and child health services, as well as at community ward executive offices, aligning with the Government's decentralization policy. To ensure affordability for families, the Government has waived all registration fees under this initiative, and the first copy of the birth certificate will be provided free of charge. Parents and caregivers in Kigoma will have easy access to more than 443 registration points across the region in 122 wards and 321 health facilities.  

Currently, the simplified birth registration system is operational in 24 out of the 26 regions in Mainland Tanzania, with Kigoma becoming the 25th region to adopt this transformative system. Dar es Salaam is expected to launch later this year. Over 8.6 million children under five have been registered since 2013, which has significantly contributed to raising Tanzania Mainland's overall certification rate from less than 13 per cent in 2012 to over 65 per cent in 2022. 

With generous funding support from Global Affairs Canada, UNICEF has supported the Government of Tanzania to establish a sustainable model for birth registration while also making substantial contributions towards developing an efficient Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System nationwide. 

Tigo, through its innovative mobile technology, provides invaluable support by ensuring birth registration data is promptly uploaded and sent to a central database in real-time. Furthermore, Tigo equips all health facilities and ward executive offices with smartphones and provides free SMS services to support the programme. 

“This innovative public-private partnership will have a transformative impact on children's lives, ensuring the realisation of every child's right to an identity, facilitating access to critical health, nutrition and education services, and increasing protection from child exploitation and harmful practices. With generous support from the Government of Canada, UNICEF has worked in close partnership with the Government of Tanzania and Tigo from its inception to implementation, region by region,” said Ms. Elke Wisch, UNICEF Representative to Tanzania. “Moving forward, local government, health workers, families and parents need to ensure that all children are registered routinely so no child is left behind – as every child counts”. 



About RITA 
The Registration Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) is the result of the transformation of the Administrator General’s Office into an Executive Agency in 2005. RITA is the custodian of information on key life events of the country on behalf of the Government and deals with matters of administration of deceased estates, bankruptcy, official receivership, and incorporation of trustees to name a few. As seen, its roles are unique and important for national development. Visit: www.rita.go.tz or www.twitter.com/ritatanzania or like us on www.facebook.com/ritatanzania, www.instagram.com/ritatanzania 

About Global Affairs Canada 
The mandate of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is to manage Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, to encourage the country's international trade and to lead Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance. GAC has been the sole funder for the Under-five Birth Registration Initiative since 2012 and has committed funds to roll out the new birth registration system throughout mainland Tanzania by 2022. For more information about GAC and its work, please visit: www.international.gc.ca 

About TIGO 
Tigo started operations in 1994 as the first cellular network in Tanzania. It now covers 26 regions in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.  Tigo strives to be Tanzania's most innovative mobile phone operator, offering services ranging from affordable mobile voice communications to high-speed Internet access and mobile financial services through Tigo Pesa. Tigo is part of Millicom International Cellular S.A (MIC) which provides affordable, widely accessible, and readily available cellular telephone services to more than 43 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa and Latin America. 

Media contacts

Usia Ledama
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Tanzania
Tel: +255 762 871830


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF Tanzania and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/tanzania.
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