Birth certificates are crucial documents for a child's future. They are a precondition for other legal identity documents and access to education and health services. However, the complexity of acquiring such legal identity documents has encouraged the Bantaeng District to initiate Dukcapil MENGGOMBAL (Building a Movement for Parents to Obtain Birth Certificates). This health-care services innovation which commenced in 2019, involves public health clinics, local governments, midwives, and health services cadres. Within one year, the ownership of birth certificates for those aged 0-18 years and child identity cards (KIA) has since increased by 6% and 12%, respectively.
A housewife of three children, Sulastri Eka Wati (35) almost gave up her hope of obtaining a birth certificate for her youngest daughter, Aurilya Ramadani (1). Ever since she returned from Kolaka in Southeast Sulawesi to Bantaeng in South Sulawesi, she had been fighting tooth and nail for Aurilya's birth certificate to be issued. Sulastri is acutely aware that a birth certificate is essential to the future of her children. Sadly, the process was so cumbersome without her knowing why. Although this process had cost him dearly, her efforts were unsuccessful.
Her neighbour once offered to lend a hand, but they demanded Rp500,000, an amount way beyond Sulastri’s reach. Her husband is only construction worker with fluctuating income. Her younger brother who squatting at her place, is unemployed.
Sulastri saw a sliver of hope when she took her children for a routine check-up at the monthly clinic for children and pregnant women (known as Posyandu). There, she met Ernawati (52), a Population and Civil Registration Agency (known as Dukcapil) staff member who shared the importance of acquiring a birth certificate and Child Identity Card (known as KIA) through the innovation of health-care services, Dukcapil MENGGOMBAL.
Without a moment of hesitation, Sulastri and three other mothers promptly completed the required documents: a Family Card (KK) and a birth certificate from the midwife. Within three days, Aurilya's birth certificate was delivered directly to her home – ex gratia.
“I have pulled out all the stops to obtain a birth certificate for Aurilya because she would need one for her education and medical treatment. Children cannot go to school for free if they have no birth certificate. My firstborn is in the second grade and can go to school without charge. Aurilya is about to enter kindergarten and, since she already has a birth certificate, the process has been smooth sailing. I am over the moon," said Sulastri.
“Many residents could not enrol in universities or find work because they lacked birth certificates or because their birth certificates are inaccurate," said Noptiadi, the Head of the Birth Registration Division at Dukcapil.
Dukcapil MENGGOMBAL is an innovation in collaboration with KOMPAK by the of Dukcapil Bantaeng District, South Sulawesi. The mastermind was Noptiadi (34), Head of the Birth Registration Division at Dukcapil. Noptiadi was fully aware of all the complications that the residents who lacked these documents had to cope with.
"I felt that the Dukcapil should get to the bottom of this issue. One solution was to involve the Puskesmas/Poskesdes and Posyandu, where mothers give birth and go for their children's health check-ups,” explained Noptiadi.
KOMPAK wholeheartedly supports the innovation of civil registry services, Dukcapil MENGGOMBAL. To facilitate the Dukcapil of Bantaeng District in increasing its capacity to carry out its innovation, KOMPAK assisted Dukcapil in mapping out its administrative document achievements, constraints, and solutions. KOMPAK also assisted Dukcapil in developing a complaint mechanism to enhance the performance of its public services.
KOMPAK has also organised a series of technical training related to administrative services, including standard operating procedures (SOPs) for services, training guidelines for trainers, and management of funding, and so on. The training was attended by Dukcapil staff, Community and Village Empowerment Office staff, and the stakeholders.
Furthermore, KOMPAK has helped create a Population and Civil Registration Coordinator (known as Koordukcapil) at the village/kelurahan level to facilitate improved and more effective management of administrative documents. KOMPAK provided Koordukcapil with training modules and pocket manuals, technical guidelines for Village Authority-Based Population Administration Services (known as LABKD), technical guidelines for monitoring and evaluation, and Dukcapil coordination mechanism SOPs.
In addition, KOMPAK encourages collaborations among Regional Apparatus Organisations (OPD) and facilitates the preparation of participatory policies in the Regulations and Circulars of District Head to expand the scope of the administrative documents. To ensure the participation of all stakeholders, KOMPAK also facilitated focus group discussions (FGD) involving various authorities’ agencies and ministries, villages, sub-districts, and teams for the Acceleration of Ownership of Administrative Documents for Vulnerable Communities and Special-Needs Groups in Bantaeng District.
Before the launch of Dukcapil MENGGOMBAL in 2019, many residents still had not completed their children's legal identity documents, especially those living in the coastal areas and remote villages. Others had tried to acquire the documents but felt that the process was too cumbersome and problematic, as it cost them considerable time and money.
According to Noptiadi, the direct-visit approach through public health services centres has been by far a more effective way to reach the residents. As the activities involve the cadres of Puskesmas/Poskesdes and Posyandu, they can simultaneously educate the parents on the importance of obtaining birth certificates and KIA for their children. These cadres also work with Dukcapil Bantaeng to offer three-in-one services: First, to conduct socialisation on legal identity administration and related regulations. The second is to open registration services for the issuance of birth certificates and KIA at Posyandu. The final step is to ensure the birth certificates and KIA are issued and delivered to their respective homes.
Ernawati, the Dukcapil staff who assisted Sulastri in obtaining the birth certificate for her youngest daughter, explained that they always include the materials about legal identity documents in activities to refresh Posyandu cadres’ knowledge and skills as well as in mini workshops every month for village midwives. This effort is expected to increase the cadres’ capacities in encouraging residents to apply for legal identity documents.
The cadres from accros sectoral also eqquiped with series of training to refresh its knowledge.
“Many residents chose to delay applying for birth certificates either because they did not understand how to obtain them, they lived too far from Dukcapil office, or they believed that the process would be expensive. I have always encouraged cadres to inform the residents that the birth certificate and KIA administration process is without charge. It's completely free," said Ernawati.
In addition to the socialisation at Posyandu, the cadres also perform data upgrades through direct home visits. They record the number of expecting mothers, newborn mothers, infants and toddlers, the elderlies, and people with disabilities. This data collection process helps the cadres identify families lacking legal identity documents.
The data collection process also helps Dukcapil to identify accurate vulnerable groups (the elderlies, the economically disadvantages, and persons with disabilities) without completed legal identity documents. By identifying them, the Dukcapil coordinator then helps them to get the legal identity documents at the Dukcapil office from start to finish.
The Head of Puskemas (Public-Health Clinic) in Bissappu, Akbar Arfah (48), admitted that the approach had proven to be effective in encouraging residents to obtain their legal identity documents.
“Posyandu cadres always reminded us of the importance of possessing legal identity documents at every meeting with mothers and toddlers at Posyandu. Overall, parents are happy because they don't have to go through the troublesome visits to the Dukcapil office. Hence, they straightaway jump on the opportunity to proceed with the application process," said Akbar.
The Bantaeng District Dukcapil Performance Report of November 2020 confirmed Akbar's findings: birth certificate ownership in the Bantaeng District for the 0–18yo group in 2020 was 93%, higher than the 87% recorded in 2019. This figure even exceeded the national target of 92%. Likewise, KIA which in 2020 has reached 15%, has increased quite dramatically compared to the modest 3% recorded in 2019.
The ease in the overall process and the numerous benefits enjoyed by the well-documented residents in the long-run has encouraged many residents.
In addition, more and more residents have taken the initiative to inform their local authorities of their vulnerable neighbours who have yet to own legal identity documents. The ease in the overall process and the numerous benefits enjoyed by the well-documented residents in the long-run has encouraged many residents – including Sulastri – enthusiastically educate and assist their neighbours who are still lacking the appropriate legal identity documents.
“Dukcapil MENGGOMBAL is extremely beneficial, especially for the parents who are economically disadvantaged. This program is accessible at Posyandu and free of charge, and the process of administering it is straightforward. I've experienced it personally. That's why I am so eager to encourage other mothers so that they too can obtain birth certificates and KIA for their children,” said Sulastri.