Integration of mobile technology is one of the objectives of scaling up the children under-five initiative in Tanzania, which has bridged the rural-urban divide by improving access to the most marginalised communities to register their children.
Tanzania’s digital lifestyle company Tigo has continued to support the Tanzania government’s under-five birth registration initiative through an innovative mobile application that is accelerating provisioning of birth certificates for children under the age of five. The under-five birth registration drive, launched in Geita and Shinyanga regions along the Lake Victoria Zone in March 2017, is expected to benefit more than 650 000 children in the two regions.
The programme brings registration closer to the community by establishing registration points at existing health facilities and at the community ward executive offices. This will enable parents in these two regions to have access to more than 598 registration points. Moreover, there will be more than 1 300 trained Registration Assistants equipped with 1 200 mobile phones donated by Tigo to support the registration process.
Tigo has been partnering with Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) and UNICEF in scaling up this project in Geita and Shinyanga regions following success registered in Mbeya, Songwe, Mwanza, Iringa and Njombe regions, where more than 830 000 under-five children have been registered and provided with birth certificates since 2013.
Speaking during the launch of the project in Geita region (attended by Tanzania’s Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Dr Harrison George Mwakyembe), Tigo Director for the Lake zone, Ally Maswanya said: “It’s with no doubt that technology has changed birth registration dynamics in Tanzania.” Tigo has simplified the capturing of birth registration information as well as the retrieval of the same information, uploading and sending it to a central database at the National Registration Bureau in real time.
Maswanya says that this community investment forms part of the country’s broader digital lifestyle agenda and they have been donating mobile phones for all regions where the project has been implemented. As a special gesture, the government has also waived the fee for registration under this initiative and the first copy of the certificate is given free of charge.
The initiative is a ‘one step, one visit’ process and marks a significant shift in accelerating birth registration in Tanzania mainland, after years of stagnation. “We are transforming the system to make it easier for children and their families to access the entitlement of a birth certificate,” said Emmy Hudson Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA), responsible for the programme. She adds, “Now parents can receive birth certificates from the designated health facilities or through the ward executive offices.”
On his side, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Tanzania Rene Van Dongen says, “Every child has the right to an identity. A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. Currently Tanzania has a very low level of birth registration, which means that millions of children under-five are ‘invisible’ in the nation’s records. This initiative aims to accelerate birth registration to help more Tanzanian children to claim their rights and be protected. The Government, too, will have better data for policy and planning.”
Source: Tigo. Image: Pixabay