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Cutting Out the Schlep of Registering Nigerien Children

Forty percent of Nigerien children are not officially registered with the government after their birth due to the cost, time and travel required to do paperwork. The lack of a certificate isn’t usually a problem for people who remain in their community all their lives – but it becomes a giant headache when they are displaced.  With support from the international community, Niger is trying to solve the problem. Computerisation and awareness operations, fairs, and campaigns by nongovernmental organisations are all being rolled out. Today 60 percent of births are registered, but this still leaves four out of every 10 children invisible to the state. Even so, today’s score is “a remarkable level given that not so long ago, in 2007, we were barely on 30 percent” of registration, he said. An identity card is required to enrol in a school, obtain a grant, open a bank account, vote or go through a police checkpoint.