Project Details

No kids without birth certificates

Short Description and Goal

The towns of Roeselare (Belgium) and Dogbo (Benin) work on the joint birth registration programme. After six years, Dogbo has become a reference in the field of civil registration in Benin, a country where more than 40% of births are not registered.

Detailed Description

In Benin, more than 40% of births are not registered. It means that these children have no legal existence. A proof of legal identity is however required to obtain a passport, open a bank account, have a driver’s license, vote and access education and social security services. Without birth certificates, children do not exist and can even be abused. In addition, the civil registry helps to make estimates of the population in order to meet its needs, to implement national and sectoral policies in the fields of employment, housing, urban and land use planning, education, health (vaccination), etc. Without the systematic recording of all births and deaths, it is impossible to plan for the future. The civil registration is a competence delegated by the central state to the communes since 2003.

The Dogbo Town Hall has started the process of systematic birth registration, making it one of the first municipalities in Benin to engage in this process. In order to have a lasting solution, the Dogbo Town Hall has taken corrective and preventive measures with its partners to put an end to irregularities in the registration of birth certificates. Multiple problems were not obvious to solve. In addition, the context of voodoo plays an important role and influences in many cases the proper registration of births.

The process for birth registration was described according to the methodology of a risk matrix. Roeselare and Dogbo have started this exercise since 2012. The Dogbo Town Hall and the city of Roeselare have developed a proactive strategy, an integrated approach that involves:

  • Analysis of the risks of mismanagement of civil registration
  • The development and implementation of a roadmap
  • The multi-stakeholder approach (involvement of village chiefs and district chiefs, community relays, health workers, religious leaders, “crowned heads”, wise men and women, community elders)
  • The use of SIGEC software for scanning, electronic archiving of documents, and data management.

This strategy includes several innovative activities:

  • The capacity building of actors in the birth registration chain
  • Raising awareness of the populations by different channels of transmission
  • Digitization of acts in a database (software) and electronic archiving of data
  • Strengthening civil registration staff (recruitment of 9 new agents including one per district)
  • Free distribution campaigns of documents
  • Capitalization of information to lobby at national level

Currently, the town of Dogbo has become a reference/a best practice in the field of civil registration. It recorded from 2013 to 2016 more than 40 field visits of the sister communes, state and international structures (the DGEC, UNICEF, MF, GIZ, CEFORP, CTB…).


  1. Cooperate with other Twinning cities and partner cities. Roeselare is not the only European city engaging in municipal international cooperation with Dogbo. The Dutch town of Ridderkerk and the German town of Kleve also work together with Dogbo. The three European partners are in contact with each other and are trying to align their programs and projects. Ridderkerk’s support allowed Roeselare’s municipal international cooperation to take a flying start.
  2. Language. Good communication is very important in all municipal international cooperation. Delphine Lerouge: ‘Because I don’t speak Spanish, a South American partner was not advisable. Benin used to be a French colony, which makes communication very easy. It allowed us to get started really quickly. Kleve, which started around the same time, isn’t nearly as far as we are. One of the reasons for this is the language problem. Only one person can speak fluent French and German and has to act as a go-between for both cities.’

Source: Three of Dogbo’s European partners working together with the Association of Flemish Cities and Towns (VVSG) and with the support of
the Flemish government. (t


Initiated by


Initiators are

• Public institution

Funded by

• Municipality
• Federal or State Funds

Project Website(s)

Social Media Link(s)

Contact Info

Project Topics

Civil Society, Health Care, Inclusion & Welfare, Public Services & Administration, Sustainable development, Young People

Level / Project Complexity /


Participating Cities

  • Roeselare
  • Dogbo

Sizes of Participating Cities

• 100.000 - 500.000

Participating Countries

  • Belgium
  • Benin

Project Region(s)

• Europe
• North Africa

Media Credits

Cover pitcture by ©HCR/S.Kpandji)