Civil status: a national strategy to promote behavior change

Dakar, Jul 4 (APS) – The Directorate of Civil Status announces that its objective is to increase the registration rates of births, marriages, deaths and divorces, by encouraging behavior change at all levels in the horizon 2026, as part of the ”Nékkal” programme.

The director of civil status, Aliou Ousmane Sall, unveiled this ambition during the validation, Monday in Dakar, of the national strategy for communication, awareness and social mobilization around civil status, in the presence of the representative of the European Union, Faly Keita.

He underlined that this program “is very important for the government of Senegal, especially the digitization aspect of the civil status system”, which implies, he said, the interconnection of centers, the digitization of registers and actor training.

“We can achieve anything that is physical, but if we do not succeed in changing behavior through awareness, we will never achieve our goals,” he warned.

To achieve this awareness, he says, ”we must rely on community relays, on imams, the clergy”. He believes that ”all territorial actors must be involved, in order to achieve universal registration”.

”Today, we are at 79% registration from zero to five years in Senegal. We want to move towards universal registration,” he said.

In Senegal, for children from zero to one year old, the declaration of birth is free, while in France the free period is three days, he pointed out.

”For users to be able to register, they must have access to services”, he said, before pointing out that ”34 modern civil status centres” are in the process of being be built ”in the 14 regions” of the country.

The directorate of civil status, through the “Nékkal” program, aims to train the actors who intervene in this sector. ”We are going to train 3,000 civil status officers and managers, 600 archivists equipped with communication tools to continue raising awareness,” he said.

The representative of the EU delegation, Faly Keita, dwelt on the importance of a change in people’s behavior with regard to civil status. “Behavioral change in this area requires long-term work,” he said.

The ”Nekkal” programme, financed to the tune of 18 billion francs by the EU, is implemented by two operators: ”Suivi Pol” and the Belgian Development Agency, Enabel.

It is the support program for the strengthening of the civil status information system and the consolidation of a national biometric identity file in Senegal that has become the NEKKAL program, with the slogan “my civil status my citizenship.

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