Andrew Jackson

Laws On Birth Registration In Zimbabwe

“For children to count, they have to be counted.” Harry Belafonte

This quote highlights the importance of birth registration particularly on the right to a sound education. Birth registration is the process by which a child’s birth is recorded in the civil register by the applicable government authority. It provides the first legal recognition of the child and is generally required for the child to obtain a birth certificate. Unfortunately, many African countries fail to adhere consistently this process.

In Zimbabwe achieving universal birth registration remains a difficult task. Progress towards universal birth registration in Zimbabwe is slow and the gap between promise and achievement remains wide. According to UNICEF (2015), only 31 per cent of children are registered before the 5th birthday. Nevertheless, the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency provides a less conservative estimate suggesting that 38 per cent of children are registered within the first 59 months after birth (ZimStats, 2015). Still, even after the 5th birthday, birth registration success remains undesirably low (Save the Children et al., 2011)
This may affect a child’s right to basic education, especially as birth certificate acknowledges the existence of a child and absence of this may slow down the school enrolment process. Without valid proof of age, children are unable to register for the exams that allow them to continue onto secondary education.

However, there are laws establishing these rights. For instance, Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that, ‘The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name and the right to acquire a nationality’. This convention imposes a duty on states parties to register the birth of every child.
In the same vein, Article 24 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the General Assembly adopted in 1966, provides cialis that ‘every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name’.

Despite the fact that there are laws (both international and national) in place to address this problem, achieving birth registration still remains a tall order in Zimbabwe. This is due, in part, to lack of awareness/education of the parents of the existing laws on birth registration. Especially as residents in rural areas have little or no information that there are sanctions in place for non-compliance with birth registration.

An empirical study was carried out in Zimbabwe to ascertain why this issue persist and it was realised that most participants were unaware that it is legally required to have a birth certificate or sanctions involved for non-compliance. Although participants were aware of the procedures to follow when applying for a birth certificate, they were not sufficiently apprised of the compulsory requirement of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 5:02 to give notice of a live birth of a child within the first 42 days.

Awareness of this legislation coupled with visible and clear sanctions may encourage increase in birth registration. This is because the law is seen as a viable tool to control human behaviour if properly enforced. Could this show a way forward?

Birth registration has been framed as child’s rights and a mechanism through which children access human rights. Therefore, laws on birth registration in Zimbabwe needs to be properly promoted and pressure exerted where none exist. Birth registration is very crucial in every facet of life, it establishes the identity of an individual. Without identity a person does not exist, at least on paper, and this is no small barrier. As the World Bank observes, the possession of a birth certificate represents a ‘permanent, legal and visible recognition by the state of a child’s existence as a member of society.

Guest Blogger: Ibukunoluwa Iyiola-Omisore


A Successful Year At Trinity Project!

One of the outstanding organisations in Zimbabwe that your donations allow us to support is Trinity Project. Through awareness raising, advocacy, and by providing free legal support to vulnerable families, the project helps children to obtain the birth certificates that they need to enrol in school.


Trinity Project: an update from the field…


As the curtain comes down in 2014, I would like to celebrate the successes we have had so far, together with the Trinity Project family. We also want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to our funding partners for making our activities possible.

Trinity Project is now a household name in communities in Bulawayo, and we continue to work closely with government departments. This year, the Ministry of Education granted us the authority to work with schools up to 2016, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bulawayo City Council, and we received permission from the Bulawayo City Council Health Department to program in local health centres/clinics. We also publish weekly newspaper articles in the local vernacular newspaper ‘Umthunywa’.

Unfortunately, widespread abuse of child rights remain, especially due to identity and inheritance; hence there is still much work to be done.

Mr Pumulani Mpofu

Project Manager, Trinity Project


Trinity Project: 2014 in numbers
  •  A total of 2,896 legal cases taken on.
  •  247 children so far assisted to successfully obtain identity documents.
  • Over 24,000 people reached through awareness raising activities.
  • Over 1,000 children have attended our monthly Kids Clubs, run in partnership with local Child Protection Committees to increase awareness of children’s rights.
  • 340 stakeholders trained to assist children with matters relating to birth registration and identity rights.
  • As a result of our successful advocacy work, both United Bulawayo Hospital and Mpilo Hospital are now issuing birth confirmation records without requiring vulnerable mothers to pay hospital fees upfront.

IT Schools Africa

Based in Cheltenham with a sister organisation in Harare, ITSA have many years’ experience refurbishing IT equipment and shipping it for use in schools across Africa. Working in partnership with them, ZET is sending an initial shipment of 50 PCs, with plans to send is there a generic for cialis more equipment and to help schools in Zimbabwe establish fully functional IT Suites and provide IT training for teachers.

A big thanks to Boston Spa College and Training 26 for the donation of computers for this shipment!


Case Study: Thembi’s Story…

This story hit the headlines in Zimbabwe twice this year. In the interests of child protection, we have not used real names.

Thembi is a 17 year old orphan who was referred to Trinity Project by the local Child Protection Committee. Just over two years ago, Thembi was raped by her uncle and fell pregnant as a result. She is now mother to an 18 month old baby boy.

Thembi reported the rape to the police; her uncle was successfully prosecuted and is now in jail. However, as a result of this brave decision, Thembi received death threats from her extended family. Some of these family members illegally occupied the house which had belonged to Thembi’s late parents, making Thembi homeless for a time. Through mediation with the family, Trinity Project was able to find a family member to speak up on behalf of the girl. This enabled us to take the case to a Magistrate, who appointed Trinity Project as the executors of the deceased estate. As a result, it was then possible to evict the family members who were squatting in Thembi’s home. However, Thembi’s family left the house without paying utility bills, leaving her with crippling debts as well as mounting legal fees. To compound matters, Thembi recently discovered she has cervical cancer, possibly resulting from the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, so is also having to find money to pay medical bills.

Thembi was always at the top of her class at school, but the traumas she has suffered tadalafil generic over the past 2 years have forced her to drop out of education. She is now determined to find the money to pay for her school fees so she can return to education and fulfil her ambition of becoming a solicitor.

With the guidance of Trinity Project’s expert staff, ZET has supported Thembi as she seeks to overcome the challenges she faces. This summer, over $1,000 was raised in a special appeal which paid all of Thembi’s court costs and a large percentage of her debts. On 6th November, a magistrate officially authorised the transfer of the house into Thembi’s name.


Thembi thanks you for your support:

First and foremost I would like to thank you for your efforts in supporting me in my legal cases and my financial crisis. Three quarters of my debts in electricity and water bills have been paid off through the donated US$1000. These debts were a burden to me, and I used to find it difficult to concentrate on my life.

Ever since Trinity Project started assisting me, my life has been shaping up. Now I am able to concentrate on my studies with no worries of debts.

I sincerely appreciate and I am grateful for all your help and support. May God be with you and bless you all.

Yours faithfully,



The Right to Education & Health

In this short radio broadcast, David Hofisi of ZLHR and Dr Rutendo Bonde of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) help explain the provisions in Zimbabwe’s new constitution that guarantee the right to education and health and how ZLHR and ZADHR are working towards enforcing such rights.


Rafiki Update

Based in Harare, Rafiki provides vocational training to vulnerable young women. Since 2002 they have trained over 450 women, almost 80% of whom have gone on to find paid employment or set up their own business. A further 10% have used the training to access further education. We are very excited to have partnered with Rafiki, and will be supporting their work through a major fundraising campaign in the UK, which will commence in December.