ISLAMABAD ( ABRAR MUSTAFA )
Currently, the rate of birth registration in Pakistan is quite low due to various socio economic factors. Time, cost, travel, process hindrances and general lack of awareness all contribute towards exacerbating the situation. On the other hand, the ubiquitous prevalence and adoption of mobile technology in Pakistan has opened avenues that offer unprecedented potential for services and applications for masses at large. In an effort to augment the present low birth registration rate with the help of cellular technology, Telenor Pakistan and UNICEF Pakistan are jointly launching a pilot to mediate child’s right to identity through mobile birth registrations. A ceremony to formalize this partnership was held today at a local hotel.This unique pilot project aims to help create an enabling environment by making the process of birth registration user-friendly, and provide facilitation to citizens and other stakeholders through the use of technology and innovations.
A one-of-its kind initiative under Telenor Pakistan Corporate Social Responsibility umbrella, the project will not only aim at increasing demand for registrations in selected Union Councils of Sindh and Punjab but will also induce a proactive approach towards bringing birth registration services to the public. The project will play a pivotal role in improved citizen interactions through process optimization, better planning and management of data for the government, and improved health awareness through uptake of mobile-health (m-health) services.
On this occasion, Muhammad Aslam Hayat, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Telenor Pakistan said, “We at Telenor Pakistan aim to empower societies by extending the benefits of telecommunications through innovative measures to the masses. Considering proof of identity an essential prerequisite for gaining access to basic services, and to exercising fundamental human rights, we are pleased to announce our partnership with UNICEF Pakistan, which will not only help boost birth registration rate per se, but will also establish the importance of technology for enabling a child’s right to registration.”
“This project has tremendous implications for the right of every child in Pakistan as birth registration is an important instrument to realize children’s right to health, education and other services in particular protection against violence, abuse and exploitation, said Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “International experience shows that innovation as well as usage of new technologies significantly facilitate access to basic social services and birth registration is the key to this effect. We hope this breakthrough in partnership and innovation between the Local Governments, Telenor and UNICEF will help achieve the ultimate goal of permanent, continuous and universal birth registration in Pakistan.”
Government bodies such as NADRA and Union Councils will play an important role in this initiative. Additional components of the plan include Mobile Birth Reporting System; an Information portal consisting of a website, central helpline and SMS based pull requests; public service messages and m-health services.