Project 85 – A birth certificate for every child in North Cameroon


Duration : 12 month
Project sponsor : IDAY-Cameroon
Beneficiaries : 1000 children
Total budget : 54 755
External fincancing sought : 42 509

Country: Cameroon


Officially they do not exist and are called ghost children. There are 230 millions of them in the world and it is estimated that in West and Central Africa there are more than 40 million. No state and no administration recognizes them. They have not been registered anywhere. They have no legal identity, no nationality, it is impossible for them to sit for national school exams and obtain certificates, to apply for a job or to benefit from a legal framework for the respect of their fundamental rights.

According to Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: “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.

It is estimated that there are more than ten indigenous peoples in the North Cameroon region (Septentrion). These people live together with nomadic traditions and are influenced by ancestral cultures. They often move from one countryside to another according to the seasons. This mobility often makes it difficult to monitor and register births. Today, 4 out of 10 children in the Septentrion do not have a birth certificate. Young indigenous people, and particularly young girls, are the main victims.

In general, the birth registration process is hampered by difficulties and obstacles identified as being:

Illiteracy and ignorance: This is the most important barrier to birth registration. Indeed, the population does not understand the importance of registration; for many parents who do not register their children, it is either because they “did not know that the child should be registered” or “did not know how to register”;

– Political barriers;

Barriers in the application of legislative standards: obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child ;

– Administrative barriers;

Geographical barriers: the most obvious one is the distance between the place of birth and the nearest registry office. The greater the distance, the more difficult and costly it will be for parents to register their children;

Socio-cultural barriers: with discriminatory practices where in some localities birth registration is often hindered by gender discrimination that prohibits women’s involvement in the process. As a result, if the father is absent, registration is at great risk of being delayed or not taking place. In addition, the mother herself may not have an official document (birth certificate, CNI) to register a birth.


Contribute to civil registration and access to education for vulnerable indigenous populations in the Northern Region of Cameroon.

To improve child birth registration among vulnerable indigenous populations in the Northern Region of Cameroon.

Expected results

> 1000 birth certificates are issued to vulnerable indigenous populations in the northern region, with a focus on young girls and women.

> The traditional authorities, traditional birth attendants, community leaders and the community are sensitized on the importance of systematically declaring births.

> Community relays and traditional and religious authorities are trained on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the right to education for all.

The project will take place in the logic of participatory approaches, which place the populations themselves at the center of the development process. In this case, the populations will be called upon to take part in all the stages of the process of elaboration of their birth certificates.

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