Official from birth: How thousands of children in Pakistan get their identity

There are more than 360 million ‘invisible’ children in the world (who were not registered at birth and who do not have an official form of identification), including 60 million in Pakistan. In an effort to increase the country’s birth registration rate, Telenor Pakistan worked with UNICEF and the Governments of Punjab and Sindh provinces to create a mobile-based registration platform which enables digital birth registration.

In Pakistan, it can be difficult for families to register a birth if the child is born at home, in a remote location or in displacement. For those without an official identity, life can be a struggle – access to essential services, such as education and healthcare, is limited and young people are more vulnerable to child labour and trafficking, for example.

To help boost the number of registrations, Telenor Pakistan worked with UNICEF and local registration officials to develop an app that is pre-loaded onto a Telenor mobile device, to be used by authorised personnel, including lady health workers and local marriage registrars (called nikkah) and Telenor mobile agents, so that registrations can be carried out both within a parent’s home or nearby, in the immediate community. The registration form is completed on the mobile platform and is securely submitted to the local union council office. Once approved, the parent receives an SMS that their child’s birth certificate is ready to collect, thereby saving them numerous (and sometimes costly) trips to the union council office to register their child and reducing barriers to registration. Over the course of piloting this service, birth registration rates in some areas increased by over 200%, and over 770,000 children in Pakistan have now been registered through the platform, ensuring they are visible members of society and improving their quality of life.

Back to impact area