Tuesday, 11 October 2011

In Nepal birth registration promoted through a cash grant programme for food

Birth registration is important for children to begin to receive governmental support, from health care to education. Birth registration is a priority for many international agencies working in Nepal, including UNICEF, Save the Children and Plan International.Proving individual's age without a birth certificate can be legally problematic, though citizenship is still possible without birth registration.A cash grant programme to promote the purchase of nutritious food for children in the remote Karnali region of Mid-West Nepal increased birth registration by 300 percent in the past year, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). In addition to the child grant programme, Save the Children has been mobilizing Hindu priests, who ceremoniously name babies on their ninth day, to also promote birth registration. The child grant programme, implemented by the government in October 2009, offers about US$2.75 each month to families with children under five throughout the five districts of Karnali, and also to poor Dalit families nationwide. Each family can receive up to two grants a month for their documented children. Prior to the implementation of the programme in Karnali, only 20,896 children had birth certificates, now 85,624 children do. The spending of the money is not tracked, but whether or not families are buying leafy greens, the increase in birth registration is a by-product to boast about according to UNICEF.
At the moment, mothers are receiving the grants in two or three lump sums per year, which might add to the temptation to spend the money elsewhere, aid workers say. While cash in hand is a great new incentive for parents to put their children on the books, in the past families were reluctant to spend the tiny sum it costs to register their newborn.

Map of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

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