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NRB in mass child registration exercise

By Nellie Kapatuka

The exercise is compulsory- Sambo tells the meeting

Lilongwe, September 13, Mana: National Registration Bureau (NRB) will from October 24 to November 4, 2022 conduct a mass child birth registration campaign targeting 600,000 children under the age of 16 in Lilongwe Rural East, Karonga and Mwanza districts.

Speaking on Tuesday during an extraordinary full council meeting in Lilongwe, NRB Principal Secretary, Mphatso Sambo, said the exercise is a pilot exercise which, upon being successful, will be rolled out to the rest of the districts in the country in the coming year.

When it rolls out next year, it will target about 8.4 million children who are projected to be unregistered.

According to Sambo, the exercise is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16, which is to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration by the year 2030.

“This is a very important exercise as it will ensure protection of children from various forms of abuse apart from being legally identified in several government systems including the student database by the Ministry of Education,” he said.

Sambo added that once successfully completed, the exercise will also facilitate proper planning of health services in the country.

He further said the registration of children is universal, therefore, called on local and religious leaders to encourage their subjects to register their children during the campaign.

Concurring with Sambo, UNDP’s National Registration and Identification System Project Manager, Azhar Maliki, said birth registration of children will give them the opportunity to have a legal proof of identity which can protect them from violence, abuse and exploitation, among other things.

“Without a birth certificate, children are unable to prove their age which puts them at a much higher risk of being forced into early marriage or even the labour market,” said Maliki.

Making his remarks during the meeting, Senior Chief Chadza asked NRB to conduct a lot of awareness activities before and during the exercise to make people aware of the benefits of the exercise.

He said this will avoid situations like those during COVID-19 and Polio mass vaccination campaigns when only a few people were interested to take part.

Lilongwe District Council Chairperson, Dan Mtayamanja has since asked for full involvement of local leaders, including councilors throughout the mass campaign to its ensure success.

Before meeting the full council, NRB also met the District’s Executive Committee on Monday on the same.

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