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May 31, 2011

UNICEF and OAS sponsor workshop to register births

You’ve heard many times on our newscast the term ‘Also Known As’ for nicknames. Nicknames come and go but it’s the birth name that follows a person throughout every stage of childhood and into adulthood. So the task of registering a birth, although an important announcement of one’s existence into the world, is not always apparently carried out by parents. That is why UNICEF has teamed up with the Organization of American States to sponsor a workshop to train employees of the Vital Statistics Unit. According to the UNICEF, Belize Representative, they intend to have all births registered.

Christine Norton, Belize Representative, UNICEF

Christine Norton

“The main purpose of this registration is to try to understand the ways in which we could try to strengthen the system of birth registration. It is clear that there has been a lot of efforts in the past to do just that, but that is now challenged by a number of weaknesses. And so we have been working with the vital statistics unit and a number of other partners including the O.A.S., including the Ministry of Health, many community based organizations to try to see how we could first find and register unregistered kids or new births—new births that have been not yet registered. We are trying to understand the weaknesses and challenges in the system and most of all we are trying to raise the awareness and increase visibility around the issue of birth registration. We are doing that mostly because we need children to have the right to enter into the system in an official way.”

Kim Osborne

Kim Osborne, OAS Country Representative, Belize

“The OAS has what we call the civil identity program of the Americas. And under that program our mission is to eradicate under registration in the hemisphere. And we look at that and to effect our mission, we work in four main areas—we look at the organization of the system, everything from legislative reform to implementing new technologies to reforming the processes that are involved in registration. We also do registration campaigns where we support member states in getting the word out with a focus of vulnerable communities—we look at those who are marginalized and those that would not come forward for whatever reason to be registered. We also implement new technologies—we look at hardware, software and other technical capacity building programs where we get a standardized system in place in countries. And then finally, we look at horizontal cooperation where we promote good practices across the region.”

Jose Sanchez

“How does this workshop help you with your work?”

Lovina Daniels

Lovina Daniels, Assistant Registrar, Vital Statistics Unit

“This workshop is geared to improve the registration process. Presently there is an under registration for the births and the deaths and this exercise here is geared at improving that registration system both on the ground and technical support that we need to produce the certificates.”

Both the OAS and UNICEF agree that unregistered births are problems that need to be addressed locally and internationally.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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