Telenor has developed an android app for mobile birth registration, giving millions of children an official identity and a passport to education and health services.

Telenor Pakistan has partnered with the Pakistani government and UNICEF to develop a smartphone app for birth registration. The rapid proliferation of mobile phones amongst the population of Pakistan provides a suitable platform for birth registration that prevents families from having to undertake costly and time-consuming travel to registration offices, as well as overcoming lack of awareness of the importance of official registration.

Registration takes place either through door-to-door registration drives, or a family can alternatively approach a Digital Birth Registration franchise, where a nominated facilitator registers the child using the app and submits the registration to the relevant authorities. Once the registration is approved, the family will receive an official birth certificate. Using the data collected from the programme, stakeholders can also identify the most critical areas, and use a more targeted approach to door-to-door registrations.

A successful pilot of the project in Pakistan increased the rate of birth registration from just 30% to around 90%, and half of these registrations were girls. As a result of the success of the trial, the project will now be scaled up across Telenor’s other developing markets. It will soon be launched in Myanmar, where birth registration in regional and remote areas is still performed manually.

Why you should care

Formal birth registration is notoriously low in Pakistan, with an estimated 60 million children living without official registration. Lack of official identity hinders a person’s ability to access health care, enrol in education, financial services and more. In addition, in times of emergencies and natural disasters, official identities help to reunite families. This project not only makes it easier to register births, but also helps increase awareness of the importance of birth registration.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Gender equality
A recent report judged that Pakistan had the lowest level of gender equality in the Asia Pacific. Birth registration will encourage the enrolment of girls in education and protect them from trafficking.

Reduced inequality
Official registration is necessary to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of economic status.

Partnerships for the goals
Telenor’s partnership with local governments mobilises private resources to build capacity in developing countries.