TANZANIA digital lifestyle company, Tigo, is supporting the government’s under-five birth registration initiative through innovative mobile application that is massively accelerating the provision of birth certificates for children under the age of five. The under-five birth registration initiative in Iringa and Njombe regions is expected to benefit more than 200,000 under five 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 700 registration points. Moreover, there will be more than 1,500 Registration Assistants equipped with 800 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 Njombe and Iringa regions following the programme’s success in Mbeya and Mwanza regions where more than 400,000 under –five children have been registered and provided with birth certificates from 2013 to date.
Speaking after the launch of the Project in Iringa and Njombe regions in Southern Highlands of Tanzania, Tigo general manager, Diego Gutierrez said, ‘Tigo is proud to be the sole telecommunication company partnering with RITA, UNICEF and other stakeholders in order to make sure that every child birth in Tanzania does not go unaccounted for because identity is a basic right for every child.’
Gutierrez added that ‘through innovative mobile technology application, which ensures that birth registration data is uploaded and sent to a central database at RITA in real-time, we have been able to demonstrate our strong commitment to building a societal ecosystem that brings the promise of technology to life in the communities where we operate.’
The under-five birth registration initiative marks a significant shift in accelerating birth registration in Tanzania, 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.
UNICEF Representative in Tanzania Maniza Zaman noted that ‘Improving birth registration for under five children will help Tanzania make rapid progress in ensuring its children are on the path to attain their rights. It will also help the Government to put in place the basic legislative framework necessary to position its 23 million children under the age of 18 at the top of its development agenda.’
So far the initiative has covered two regions – Mbeya and Mwanza, and will cover an additional 10 regions including Iringa and Njombe aiming to facilitate the establishment of a sustainable model of birth registration targeting 3.5 million girls and boys under the age of five. According to the Tanzania Demographic Health Survey (DHS) 2010, only 16 percent of children under the age of five have been registered by civil authorities, with the worst challenge being in the rural areas.