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News from BRAVO!: programme of birth registration for children in Ivory Coast and Rwanda

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The BRAVO! programme in Ivory Coast and Rwanda
(January 2009)

The BRAVO! programme of the Community of Sant'Egidio is in progress in many countries, in Africa in particular. Through birth registration it delivers from anonymity children and boys, to offer them a decent future, a work, a full social insertion.


In Ivory Coast only 55 percent of the population is registered.
Within three months from the birth, only the revenue stamp is due for registration, it costs 500 CFA  Francs (equivalent to about 75 Eurocents). After this time, a judgment of the tribunal is necessary to get registered, certifying the existence in life of a person. That requires much longer time and a more expensive procedure. The judgment of the tribunal actually costs 2,500 CFA Francs (equivalent to 3.5 €), to be added to the cost for the revenue stamp.

Many parents do not know the importance of birth registration and only when the children grew they discover that the delay in the registration results in much higher costs and in a more complex procedure. Furthermore, at the moment of school application, they are asked for the certificate of birth of the child, but since many don't have it, a delay in the limits of the delivery is often tolerated. One can wait until the conclusion of the last class of the scholastic cycle, when it must absolutely be delivered otherwise it is not possible to finish the year and the studies.

This is what happened to the mother of E.H. that is illiterate. She believed that the papers were regular, since her son had been attending school for years. In the imminence of the final examination of the primary school however, the teachers said to E. H. that he could not apply for the test to pass to the high school, since he had not delivered the certificate of birth. As soon as the people of the Community of Sant'Egidio were informed, they tried to register E. H. in time for the exam, but the times of the procedure were too long, and E. H. lost one year. This year however he will be able to apply to the high school, because together to a 12-years-old child, two of eight and three of less than one year, he is the last registered of 2008 within the BRAVO! programme in Ivory Coast.


The Rwanda is modifying the procedure of birth registration. Computer recording of all of the data is being done, and that will allow, among other, to supply to every citizen an electronic identity card.

Previously enforced prescriptions that required a tax for the late record of the births, have been withdrawn. For every month of delay 500 Rwandese Francs were required (equivalent to 80 Eurocents).

In this transitory phase, the government is favoring the personal record of the whole population resident in Rwanda and has for this reason also allowed free late enrolment.

The Community of Sant'Egidio, in the framework of the BRAVO! programme, brought information to the families, for helping the insertion of as many as possible minors in the population records, and helped the orphan children in fulfilling the procedures. This way 96 children finally obtained a legal identity.

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