It is every child’s right to have their existence recorded and accounted for, to get an identity and to have that identity registered.
Giving a child a name is essentially introducing them to the world and it is necessary to formalise this introduction through birth registration.
There are many children and adults living in Zimbabwe with no birth certificates and this is a problematic reality.
Failing or neglecting to register a child’s identity has far-reaching consequences that not only affect that child, but will affect children that they too may have in the future.
The Constitution in Section 81 (1) (b) states that; “Every child, that is to say every boy and girl under the age of 18 years has the right to be given a name and family name.”
Without a birth certificate, a child cannot be enrolled into a government school and cannot write national examinations.
For a child to be recognised as a beneficiary to an estate there has to be evidence that they are indeed a child of the deceased person.
A birth certificate is generally taken as utmost proof of that kind of relationship.
Having a Birth Certificate is a child’s right and a gateway to education, passport, national identity, driver’s licence and other opportunities.
Mavambo Orphan Care (MOC) assists orphans and vulnerable children in acquiring birth certificates so as give them a right to access other services.
Tanaka is a 12 year old boy who lives in Caledonia with his parents and 3 siblings.
The child comes from a vulnerable family with both parents living with HIV.
Tanaka’s father was involved in a car accident 2 years ago, failed to go to school partly due to financial challenges and partly because he did not have a birth certificate.
His father could not continue working as a taxi driver because of injuries sustained due to the accident and the family survives by selling snacks.
The income realised is used to buy food and the family could not afford to send the children to school nor to facilitate registration of the children.
Tanaka was then identified by a community volunteer and referred to Mavambo Learning Centre as he was already 12 years of age and had never been to school.
He was enrolled for accelerated learning at the centre in January 2018.
At one of the caregiver Child Protection workshops, Tanaka’s mother came forward to say that the child and his 3 siblings did not have birth certificates as they had all been delivered at home and they did not know how they could go about registering them.
They were then asked to bring the mid wife who had assisted in delivering the children to act as witness and received financial assistance for birth certificate late registration stamp fees, affidavit forms and transport allowance to go to Goromonzi registry for birth registration.
One of the children had a twin brother who passed on five days after birth and the officer at the Registrar General’s office informed the parents that he had to be registered in order for the living twin to get a birth certificate and an ID later on.
Tanaka and her two siblings acquired birth certificates at Goromonzi Registry but the youngest sibling, 10 month old baby did not acquire birth at the same day.
The Registry’s office demanded a birth confirmation record because despite the child had been born at home, the mother had rushed to the clinic in the same day and there was information on the health card that is required on the birth confirmation record. The mother was assisted with a search fee to acquire the child’s birth confirmation record.
With all the documents in place, the parents were able to register the baby and all the 4 children have birth certificates now and the father was actively involved in facilitating the process despite his difficulty to walk due to injury.
This therefore goes to prove that child protection workshops are very important as caregivers and parents receive and appreciate the information given to them on proper care and protection of children as the child is now able to access other services in future.
Tanaka and her siblings are now registered Zimbabweans and can access other social services such as education.