It looks there is some progress in the mass registration that is currently underway in the country.
The National Registration Bureau (NRB) says it has so far registered 500,000 citizens in its second week of mass registration bringing hope and anxiety to both NRB and the partners.
“Yes, its true the National Registration Bureau and its partners would like to inform all stakeholders and the general public that by the end of week two of the National Identity Card mass registration campaign, over 500,000 Malawian citizens have been registered in five districts of the first phase, representing a 40 percent registration rate,” said NRB Public Relations Officer Norman Fulatira in a statement.
Fulatira said the registration is in full swing in five districts: Mchinji, Ntchisi, Salima, Nkhotakota and Kasungu.
“NRB will be deploying the registration staff in the Dowa district by the end of this week, completing deployment of teams in all the six districts of the first phase,” Fulatira said.
Fulatora said NRB expects to register about 1.4 million Malawians in the six districts of the first phase.
“The NRB is working closely with local authorities to ensure that nobody is left behind. As teams move out of the district, after reaching the estimated targets, NRB will leave at least one Biometric Registration Kit at the District Registration Office to be used to capture anyone left out during the campaign.” Fulatira said adding that the NRB would also like to remind citizens that only those 16 years and older should register for a national ID card.
“Those below are being registered for a birth certificate and will automatically qualify for an ID upon turning 16. Therefore, parents are advised to bring their children for registration and include their children’s details in their forms.”
Despite a few challenges such as inadequate solar energy for charging the registration machines, the registration continues smoothly and the registration teams are making great progress on the ground.
The NRB is also working in conjunction with the Project Team, so that helps with some of the unforeseen challenges.
“Meanwhile, registration staff have also been advised to use the BRK machine just within recommended hours to allow the machines to fully charge,” said Fulatira.
Registration of citizens in Phase 1 commenced on May 24, 2017, and is expected to end on July 15, 2017.
The bureau and all key stakeholders including the UN and key development partners are happy with the progress made so far.
“The NRB, therefore, encourages Malawians to appreciate that the mass registration drive is a national initiative of government for the people and by the people of Malawi.
The mass registration exercise is being conducted in five phases between 14 and 25 days, depending on circumstances.
“The Bureau is, therefore, encouraging citizens in the target districts to visit their nearest registration centers to get registered now, and beat inevitable congestion as the closing date draws near,” said Fulatira.
The Mass Registration Drive is a government project being implemented by the Government of Malawi with support from UNDP, EU, UK Government, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Irish Aid, and USAID.
The NRB is a lead on the government side providing technical and policy leadership
All finances are handled centrally by the UNDP and no finances have been remitted to any government agency.
All temporary staff for the exercise are employees of Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) with funding from UNDP.
For this drive, 4,500 Malawians have been offered temporary employment selected out of 15,721 Malawians who applied for a unique opportunity which will equip them with the knowledge of niche biometric technology.
Fulatira said this is an investment of their time to learn new skills on the job.
“All trainees will get a certificate of recognition after successful mass registration is completed. This will open doors of opportunities for them in subsequent similar projects within and outside of Malawi.
So far, the last cohorts of registration teams are being trained and will be dispatched by the end of this week to Dowa district.
The trainees are acquiring a unique skill, an investment in their future. This project will develop approximately 5,000 technical people equipped with knowledge of biometric technology,” said Fulatira.