As the school year begins, children in Al Mokha are smiling twice. In addition to registering at school, this week many are also being given a birth certificate for the first time.
“With my green birth certificate I can now study and learn and become a teacher, inshallah”, said Najma, a 7 year old girl at Al Shadeli School.
Birth certificates are one of the most basic of human rights. Without them, healthcare, education, social protection and services are often impossible to access. Without birth certificates, children have no legal identity and are therefore invisible.
Yet recent surveys show that birth registration rates in Yemen have decreased from 22% to 17% since 2006, which means that 83% of children are without a birth certificate. To address this, UNICEF and the European Union are working with the CRA to register as many of Yemen’s children as possible. Efforts are already underway to accelerate universal birth registration through legal/policy reforms, strengthening service delivery, capacity building, and awareness raising.
One of these activities is the rapid registration campaign that began in Al Mokha this week. The campaign aims to reach the most vulnerable, marginalized and disadvantaged children in Taiz Governorate, focusing on six districts at first, but will eventually expand to cover more districts and be replicated in other governorates.
In just three days, 350 girls and 200 boys have already been given birth certificates. But as the campaign is due to continue for 40 days, a great many more children will have the opportunity to be visible.