International Birth Registration Day is observed on October 8 annually, and this initiative seeks to protect vulnerable newborns by having their births registered. In 2018, Johnson’s Baby founded the Right Start Program, on October 8, and it is from that point that International Birth Registration Day began. The Right Start Program has identified that in the Middle East and Africa, there are currently hundreds of millions of newborns and infants who have not yet had their births registered. This places the most vulnerable members in those communities, children, in an even more vulnerable position. International Birth Registration Day is about spreading awareness about the rights of children and ensuring that they can receive them.
History of International Birth Registration Day
In 2019, the U.N. reported that over half the child population in Africa were undocumented, in their own countries, they had never had their births registered and as such, did not exist in the bureaucratic systems in their nations. A similar study, also conducted in 2019 by UNICEF, revealed that a startling one in 40 children under five in the MENA Region, Middle East, and North Africa, was not registered. These children are commonly referred to as the uncounted children, and there is growing international pressure to have them accounted for, and increase the registration rate of newborn children.
Around 91 million children in the MENA region did not receive a birth certificate and have never been registered. For an individual this is an extremely problematic way to maneuver through life, often these children are already faced with poverty, and combined with their lack of official identity, are vulnerable to exploitation by malicious parties.
Johnson’s Baby partnered with Save The Children and committed itself to increasing the number of registered births across the MENA Region. The registration program rollout targeted Lebanon and Ethiopia as key nations and funded the training and expansion of the registration program in both countries. With increased awareness and international pressure, these vulnerable children and babies can access their human rights and the protection that comes with it.
International Birth Registration Day timeline
The fall of the Ottoman Empire leads to a massive power vacuum in the Middle East — the remainder of the century is made up of regional conflicts and wars that leave the management of government records difficult to maintain
Ethiopia becomes one of the first African nations to receive independence — soon after this, many and, eventually, all African countries receive independence.
Although many African countries experience degrees of civil war after independence, Ethiopia’s almost two-decade-long civil war leaves the government infrastructure in ruins.
For 15 years Lebanon is engaged in a terrible civil war.
International Birth Registration Day FAQs
Why are so many children, globally, unregistered?
There are a host of socio-economic reasons, depending on the specific location but, ultimately, it boils down to an environment that does not or cannot prioritize the rights of children.
What can I do to help?
There are many ways that you can get involved. The problem is global and you can make a difference simply by raising awareness.
Why is it so important to register a child’s birth?
A name and national identity are the first rights that governments are expected to protect. Without a registered birth, in every bureaucratic sense, the child does not exist, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation.
How to Observe International Birth Registration Day
Save the Children is a global outreach initiative dedicated to saving children’s lives and transforming their reality positively. Visit their platform and learn more about the plight of children around the world.
The Right Start Program is a great initiative. It promotes the rights of children and their access to basic human necessities, and supports them with donations.
Register your child’s birth
In keeping with the day, make sure that you register your child’s birth at the earliest opportunity. If you haven’t been able to yet, prioritize it for their sake.
5 Facts About Children’s Rights
The Syrian children’s crisis
After over a decade of conflict, an estimated 2.5 million children in Syria and 750,000 in neighboring countries have no access to education.
In 2022, 40% of the world's child soldiers can be found in Africa — abducted and forced into service, there are about 21,000 armed child soldiers in Africa.
A child’s paradise
Iceland has been recognized as number one in the world for its child rights environment, with legislation that protects children’s interests comprehensively.
The Convention of the Rights of the Child
This is an international convention that seeks to ratify a universal offering for the rights of children — in 2022, only two countries have yet to sign, Somalia and the United States.
Children have a right to be loved, it is an intrinsic part of their formation, and they have a right to access love.
Why International Birth Registration Day is Important
It's for the kids
It's heartbreaking to know how many children fall through the cracks and remain uncounted. This initiative was built to serve the needs of humanity, our children, and our future.
It raises awareness
It’s convenient sometimes to remain ignorant. However, organizations like Johnson's Baby and Right Start are forcing people to see inequality globally.
They are the future
In 2022, the global population of children numbered 2.2 billion. The way they are accepted and raised in this world will not just inform their values and behavior, but our future too.
International Birth Registration Day dates