Birth Certificates

ELEVEate Fundraiser, talk by Allyson Goldsmith, Executive Director January 2009 

Girls in Senegal often do not have the opportunity to attend high school because they lack a birth certificate, which is needed to take the national High School Entrance Examination. The cost of a Senegalese birth certificate is approximately $25U.S. Over half of the families in Senegal live on $2 or less a day.

Therefore, many children are unregistered, they do not have a birth certificate, because their families face other needs that are given greater priority. In Senegal, only 62% of children are registered. The problem of children lacking birth certificates is not limited to Senegal; it arises in many countries in Africa including Mozambique, Uganda, and Togo. Moreover, a larger percentage of boys are enrolled in primary school than girls, suggesting that boys are more likely to be registered at birth than girls.

To address this disparity and give more girls a chance to realize their hopes and dreams, ELEVEate has an initiative to purchase birth certificates for unregistered girls residing in the Kaolack region of the Republic of Senegal. An application must be submitted that includes an essay identifying career goals along with information on prior school performance and family economic stature.