Two training courses, one for civil registration officers of the regions of Bobo Dioulasso and Réo, and the other for the directors of the civil registration offices of the regional districts from all over the country, were carried out between 31st October and 5th November. They were also an opportunity to evaluate the first available data on the long-term effects of the commitment to create a stable and long lasting civil registration system in Burkina Faso. The Country made a relevant effort towards this objective, and the BRAVO! programme contributed to guaranteeing access to a fundamental civil right: civil registration.
The training of civil officers is part of the ongoing campaign for universal and free registration involving the whole Country to put an end to the scourge of the "invisible children".
Indeed, Burkina Faso is one of the few African countries that have tackled with a comprehensive and long-term strategy the problem of missing civil registration.
The universal and free registration campaign that took place between 2009 and 2010, reaching the remote corners of the Country, scored a great success allowing the registration of more than 3 million people. But it also laid the grounds for a stabilization of the civil registration system, through public awareness and the creation of basic services, opening primary and secondary centres around the country, where everyone can easily record births. The significant reduction of the distance between villages and rural places and the offices where the statements of birth are collected allowed to address one of the most serious reasons preventing people from registering births.
The campaign facilitated the recognition of a fundamental human right to vast sections of the population of Burkina Faso and made the administration of the State also present in the lives of its citizens. Although the awareness of the seriousness of the problem was mainly understood, there were no available tools to deal with it. The training of agents and civil registration officers also created a new sensitiveness and a greater awareness to these issues.
The effort turned into very positive results. The first collected data suggests that in 2010, in primary schools, the percentage of children with a birth certificate was 95%. This is particularly critical because the vast majority of children, before the launch of the universal and free campaign, could not finish primary school since they had no birth certificate, this causing their dropout from school. The illiteracy rate in Burkina Faso is one of the highest in Africa, reaching peaks of 70%. The campaign's success allowed to dramatically increase the number of children in education. Today only 5% of children need to go to a registry office to get their certificate and be able to take the examination.
In addition, the percentage of children who are registered at birth has risen to about 80% (whereas before 2009 only a third of children were registered at birth), showing that the population is well aware of the need to register children at birth, when it is free of charge, to avoid the late registration process that is more complex and expensive.
The commitment of the BRAVO! programme is to continue to support the creation of a stable and enduring civil registration system, because this is the foundation of a new society that knows how to include all its citizens, especially the weakest, and guarantees the basic human rights to every generation.