BYC, UNICEF award P400K grant to help end childhood statelessness

COTABATO CITY (Nov. 17, 2023) – Four accredited youth organizations each received P100,000 seed grant from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) to implement projects aiming to help raise childbirth registrations and end the risk of childhood statelessness.

The project, dubbed Youth-led Action on Ending Childhood Statelessness in BARMM, called for youth organizations across the region to implement community-based awareness campaigns on the significance of birth registrations and gather 500 birth registration records.

The collected birth registration records will be turned over to their respective local civil registry offices and would result to issuance of 500 birth certificates.

BYC Chairperson Marjanie Mimbantas Macasalong said this initiative shows that these youth organizations are actively engaged in addressing important social issues and contributing to the well-being of their community.

“These youth organizations demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that every child’s birth is officially documented. It indicates a proactive approach to combating childhood statelessness and promoting the rights and identity of every individual,” Macasalong said.

UNICEF Mindanao Head Carlos Vazquez said engaging youth organizations in efforts to end the risk of childhood statelessness is important as young people are a strong force in society and can help raise awareness in communities.

“They have the drive to influence people, including the duty-bearers,” Vazquez said.

In a 2020 census, BARMM posted the lowest proportion of persons with registered births, or those without birth certificates, with only 77 percent of the household population. Birth certificates are legal recognition and documentation of a child’s identity and nationality that prevent statelessness.

Stateless children often face numerous challenges, as they may be denied access to education, healthcare, and other basic rights. They may also encounter difficulties in traveling, obtaining documentation, and participating fully in society.

The projects will be implemented by Tau-SPARTAN in two barangays in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi; Sulloh Youth Organization in four barangays in Tabuan Lasa in Basilan; Empowering Youth Community Organization in four barangays in Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte; and Sulu Youth Network, Inc. in five barangays in Maimbung, Sulu.

The project will run from late November until mid-December, and an after-action review will be conducted in Zamboanga City. Policies will also be developed after the project implementation to be lobbied to their local legislative bodies.

The awarding was held on the last day of the project onboarding session on Nov. 15 to 17 in Cotabato City. (BYC PR Unit/RMM)