Through assistance from Heal Zimbabwe, Trinity Project has made strides in addressing access to documentation for orphans and vulnerable children in Umguza district. According to a Baseline study survey on Access to Documentation conducted in Matebeleland provinces in 2018, forty percent of children do not have birth certificates. This has seen children struggling to access social services such as education, health, social assistance and inheritance due to lack of identity documentation.
The study, which was conducted by TRACE through partner organisations also revealed that lack of documentation for children, is a result of diverse challenges among them; lack of adequate documents to register a child including lack of death certificates, lack of information and delays in registering children. To address this inter-generational challenge in Umguza, Trinity Project assisted several households in obtaining adequate documents for them to obtain birth certificates for their children. A case in point is one of Mavis Ndlovu (not real name), an elderly woman who resides in Umguza, ward 1. Mavis gave birth to 8 children and she did not have a birth certificate. Mavis was born in Mberengwa and her biological did not obtain identity documentation for her. She never saw her baby card. This has made it difficult for her to register her own children. At the time when a local Child Protection Committee working with Trinity Project identified Mavis and her family, there were a total of 28 people who had no birth certificates.
Trinity Project provided bus fares for Mavis and her family to engage the office of the District Registrar. Trinity also helped raise awareness on the requirements and procedure for one to obtain identity documents such as birth certificates, national identity cards and a death certificates. The organization also facilitated community dialogue meetings as a platform for bringing diverse players in promoting children’s right to identity. Among the stakeholders were the Registrar’s office, District Social Welfare Office, Child Care Workers and locally accredited midwives who then helped unpacking to community members how their offices can help promoting children’s right to identity.
In one of the dialogues it emerged that, “eliminating bottlenecks in children’s access to documentation is instrumental in enhancing children’s enjoyment of their right to protection, health, education among other rights encapsulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).” A local Child Care Worker also added that, “Without identity documents, children’s vulnerability to abuse, neglect and violence is heightened. Imagine a generation which cannot access relief aid, inherit our estate, access justice and legal representation or even participate in the governance processes of their communities because we, as parents failed to obtain a birth certificate for our children, or a death certificate for their biological parents,” said a local Child Care Worker.