Many children born in rural Kenya do not have a birth certificate, a simple yet important document that gives legal identity to a child. Sometimes, it's down to parents' lack of knowledge, while some will register their children but forego its collection.
Plan International Kenya's Programme's, 'Tulinde Tusome' and Ending Violence against Children collaborated with the Civil Registration Services to raise awareness about birth registration in Chonyi and Kikambala in Kilifi County, giving parents the opportunity to register their children.
I am so happy all my children now have birth certificates
For majority of residents, it was the first time they'd heard about the importance of a birth certificate, with many appreciative of Plan International Kenya's efforts in organising the opportunity to register and get a certificate.
"I am so happy all my children now have birth certificates," said Mbetsa, a mother of 5. "The time has come for all parents and caregivers to acknowledge the importance of birth certificates. I have come with a special folder to keep them in because that's how important they are. Now, my child in standard 7 will be able to comfortably register for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE)."
Mnyazi, 50, from Chonyi is also grateful Plan International has come to her community. It means she has been able to register her 2 grandchildren locally, easing the cost of travel.
"If I were to go to the civil registration office in Kilifi, I would spend a lot of money on transport, but today I came to collect birth certificates for my 2 grandchildren whom I live with. The are in kindergarten and these certificates mean their enrolment into standard one will be easier," she said.
Through this exercise, a total of 3,722 boys and girls were registered and their certificates issued. The registration was conducted in March and April 2016, while birth certificates were issued in June 2016.
With a birth certificate, children can prove their age and who they really are. The government is also aware of their existence and is able to plan for their future.