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DEC 2016
INDIA

Every Birth Counts: iProbono’s Identity Rights Program

The Identity Rights Program (IRP) is iProbono’s first community based intervention. It emerges from a need articulated by several organisations, for research and assistance in the arena of retrospective birth registration. In our experience, many organisations working on child sex abuse manage cases where proof of birth is a question. These questions, often left unresolved due to lack of relevant documentation, cripple due process and access to justice. Some organisations working with children express difficulty in assisting their clients to obtain welfare scheme benefits in the absence of a birth certificate.

The key reasons for failure to register a birth include: lack of awareness of the birth registration process, lack of documentation, migration, home based deliveries and other related issues. The presence of alternative identity documents like Pan Card, Adhar Card, Election Card, deem birth certificates less important documents. Our research reveals that many people consider these documents as sufficient evidence of identity.

iProbono recognises that creating awareness around this issue is essential. The IRP is a field based research exercise to identify the road blocks that people face in obtaining birth registration. As part of this project, our team organised a legal awareness camp at Nizamuddin West Basti and Khusro Park during the weekend of November 26 and 27, 2016.

The objectives of this camp were:

  1. Creating awareness about Birth Registration;
  2. Reaching out to a large number of people;
  3. Identifying beneficiaries who require birth registration certificates; and
  4. Creating an interface with the community. 

The camp was supported by The Hope Project, one of our partner organisations based in the Nizamuddin area and student volunteers from Jamia Milia Islamia University’s law faculty. Other local organisations that provided voluntary support at the camp were; Islamic Relief Worldwide, Aman Biradari and Wockhardt Foundation.

A panel of government functionaries participated in the camp; including Mr Inder Singh, the Tehsildar from the SDM office and Mr B.S Chauhan, the health inspector from the Delhi Municipal Corporation. Both answered the questions of community members about the birth registration process. Their presence in the camp gave community members an opportunity to interact with the official administrative agencies directly. Mohd. Ikramuddin, the local Aam Aadmi Party representative also participated in the camp and provided support by helping us reach community members and managing logistics.

The two day camp had an encouraging response and was attended by a large number of people; 300 of whom submitted their children’s documents to have their birth registration applications processed. Furthermore, iProbono’s team was able to reach nearly 800 people through door-to-door canvassing. iProbono will now assist people in obtaining birth certificates.

If you wish to support iProbono’s Identity Rights Program or would like to know more about it, get in touch with the Program Manager, Johanna Lokhande at johanna.lokhande@i-probono.com


The article was written by Johanna Lokhande, iProbono’s Program Manager.