Around the world almost 230 million girls and boys under the age of five are effectively invisible because their births haven’t been registered. Birth registration is a fundamental right allowing children to access social services, prove who and how old they are and have a national identity.
Birth registration in Zambia is extremely low with only 14% of births being registered. Within rural areas only 9% of births are registered while 28% are registered in urban settings. In spite of registration being compulsory, it is not happening.
The main reasons for this lack of birth registration is a lack of awareness, lack of financial resources, lack of accessibility, lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities and a shortage of human resources.
Without a birth certificate children cannot enroll in schools and are not eligible to recieve child support grants. When children have no legal proof of age they are more vulnerable to early marriage, child labour and exposed to difficulties in determining their age in juvenile justice cases.
UNICEF are involved in improving registration in Zambia. Please check them out atvwww.unicef.org/esaro/5480_birth_registration.html
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