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Decentralised cooperation with Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo)

The actions undertaken with our partner have made it possible to obtain concrete results. In budgetary terms, this amounts to 161,000 euros and in terms of mobilising personnel, two agents are in charge of this scheme. The first deals with general management of the programme on an administrative and financial front as well as in the definition of priorities, whilst the second provides the required expertise on the subject in hand, namely public records.

The main areas of progress from the 2014-2016 phase of coordination with Lubumbashi are listed below :

  • Implementation of an awareness campaign directed at the population concerning the importance of public records. Initially, this was based more specifically on paper records and focused on the recording of births in collaboration with the Provincial Division of the Interior Ministry and with the support of UNICEF.
  • Definition of a communication strategy based on local networks. At present, on a quarterly basis, the services of the Lubumbashi City Hall brings together mayors, regional senior medical consultants, religious representatives, heads of primary and secondary schools, newspaper publishers and women’s associations in order to raise awareness among them of public records’ importance.
  • Information concerning recording of births is supplied (especially via awareness campaign flyers and information concerning the campaign to record births registered outside the time limit) and they are the relays for the awareness campaigns.
  • Two schemes have been added to the paper records: a safety vest emblazoned with the message “A Child, a Public Record, his/her rights”, which is the awareness campaign’s slogan. This safety vest is distributed to parents who record the birth of their child. In addition to raising awareness, these safety vests also contribute to preventing road accidents.
  • Waterproof cases that enable recording of deeds by mobile agents have also been created. The launch of the campaign took place on 20th November 2016 on International Children’s Rights Day. A travelling caravan was also used to reach the populations in far-flung towns where the rate of records still remains low (Annexe & Ruashi).
  • A campaign on recording of births registered outside time limits was organised from 20th to 27th October 2015 by the services of Lubumbashi City Hall with the assistance of the Juvenile Court in Kampemba. This campaign made it possible to reach 1,891 children who benefited from rulings supplementing their birth certificates.
  • Development of South to South skill exchanges: a collaboration and the exchange of skills between the cities of Lubumbashi and Likasi, under the aegis of UVCW-AVCB, were initiated. Consequently, exchanges of good practices and training of civil servants who came from Likasi to Lubumbashi were carried out.
  • Exchanges during visits to partners in the North were also planned. As a result, we welcomed the Mayor of Likasi’s delegation to Liège in September 2016 for a visit to discover how district annexes of city hall and the archives department worked. Over time, cooperation could also be envisaged with the Belgian army engineering corps stationed in Likasi to construct buildings for housing public records in Lubumbashi.
  • Tools and equipment have been provided to the public records offices for their daily work. Emphasis is placed on the issue of archiving (through training and provision of suitable equipment) and taking account of costs linked to printing public record registers. Work on updating the wording used on marriage and death certificates has also been conducted.
  • Rationalisation of IT resources in the various towns: diagnostics of computer problems were made, in general (connection, networks, hardware, etc.) and more specifically on the programs used for public records and the population. An audit of the situation on the ground was performed and provision of the new hardware required based on the needs listed by our partner is in progress.
  • Training is designated as a priority in the programme. As such, specific training in archiving was provided over two sessions by Liège and an audit of the situation was carried out. More than 70 civil servants from Lubumbashi were trained and the necessary equipment for appropriate archiving (cabinets and archiving boxes) was supplied.
  • In-house training also represented an opportunity to reinforce the capacities of the agents. The urban coordination cell held two seminars on the importance of public records, with the emphasis on recording births and the use of proxies. The participants in the training were basic-level staff (district managers, street and avenue managers, etc.), maternity unit managers, municipal public records personnel and mobile agents. In total, more than 180 people were trained and awareness was raised in October 2016.