Birth registration is a fundamental right of a child. In 2012 UNICEF Nicaragua launched an international crowd-sourcing contest to seek innovative ideas to increase the demand among indigenous families to register their children. In June 2013, UNICEF Nicaragua in partnership with the local mayor’s office prototyped one of the winning ideas: the introduction of photography in birth registration in Puerto Cabezas, the Northern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN).
The prototype lasted for five days with the objective of quickly testing a new approach and adapting it for the local context. UNICEF presented the initiative to the local authorities to solicit buy-in and implemented a communication plan with local radio and TV stations. The effects of the prototyping were assessed through rapid surveillance and qualitative data. The introduction of photography, when combined with other improvements in service delivery, increased the rate of birth registration. Prototyping provided the opportunity for service providers to address bottlenecks, improve the quality of service and take collective actions. The local authorities have now requested that UNICEF facilitate planning the birth registration initiative for 2014 with local partners (Plan International, religious leaders and line ministries), as the convener of the alliance to attain universal birth registration.
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