Freetown, Wednesday 19 January 2022
The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has officially received sixteen (16) motor bikes from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to support Civil Registration activities, especially the registration of births and deaths in the country. This event took place at the UNICEF Head Office, New England Ville in Freetown on Wednesday 19th January 2022.
The gesture was as a result of support from the Government of Japan under the response to the project; the ”Socio-Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Child Rights and Resilience Building in Sierra Leone”.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the UNICEF Resident Country Representative to Sierra Leone, Dr.Suleiman Briamoh recognized and appreciated the presence of the Inspector-General of the Sierra Leone Police Ambrose Sovula and the Director General of National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI, who were both present to receive donations on behalf of their respective institutions.
The UNICEF Resident Country Representative noted that, despite the commitment of government and with support from its partners including UNICEF, in ensuring that children grow in a healthy, safe and child friendly environment, by formulating and implementing policies and programmes that protect women, girls and boys from abuse and exploitation, more efforts were still required to if the trend and spate of abuses was to be reduced. He pledged UNICEF’s unwavering commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of women, girls and children.
Speaking on the significance of the registration of births and deaths, the UNUCEF Country Representative stated that “the easiest way to establish the legal identity and nationality of a child when born is to have their births registered”. Dr. Suleiman Briamoh also informed the meeting that, based on the available data today, only about 23 percent of children have their birth certificates, in spite of the strives by NCRA to register more than 80 percent of these children. He urged for the gap between the registration and the actual physical certification of the children to be reduced.
Speaking on the challenge of NCRA reaching remote communities with its job, Dr. Sulieman Briamoh stated that, it was difficult for NCRA to reach everyone and everywhere with the crucial services they provide undeterred. In that regard he noted, UNICEF was donating 16 functional motor bikes to the NCRA in order to enhance Civil Registration activities across the country. He encouraged NCRA to utilize the donated motorbikes judiciously and for the right and fitted purpose.
In his response, the Director General of NCRA, Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI thanked the UNICEF Country Representative for the unflinching support his organization has been providing to the Authority and the country at large. He stated that, since H.E President Bio made his first Commitment at the highest global platform; the United Nations General Assembly, “that through partnerships and productive collaborations, Sierra Leone will introduce the use of Securitized Legal Identity Credentials”, UNICEF is among the first set of partners to have joined the Government of Sierra Leone in demonstrating their support to the NCRA. He stated that UNICEF had provided NCRA with securitized and serialized Identity documents like; births and deaths certificates and registration instruments that cannot be counterfeited neither forged and are ready to be put into use in the country. UNICEF had also provided capacity building for staff of the Authority and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) on the use and management of these Securitized Identity Documents, especially by way of completing and recording data.
Other supports by UNICEF include, assisted the NCRA with the use of Mobile Application Technology to enhance the registration of vital events, particularly births and deaths as and when they occur, training on the use of the Mobile Application has been conducted and the Authority is now set to launch application package shortly. The DG assured all that, once this technology is up and running nobody can succeed to forge any legal Identity document in this country, as any attempt can be noticed, flagged, traced and perpetrators punished.
The DG also noted that, UNICEF has supported NCRA with Mobile phones to further enhance births and deaths registration across the country. This he said has been used to train health personnel in facilities across the country which can now be used to prompt them once events occur in their respective communities. The DG expressed hope that it will now narrow the gap between births registered and certification of children in communities.
Receiving the keys of the motorbikes in a symbolic ceremony, the Director General of NCRA expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Authority and by extension the Government and people of Sierra Leone for such a timely and weighty intervention. DG MASSAQUOI assured the UNICEF Resident Country Representative that the donated motorbikes will be prudently used for the intended purpose(s).