July 3, 2017. The mass registration exercise, launched on May 24th this year, is estimated to have, by end of June, registered over one million Malawians to receive national identity cards.
With support from the United Nations and other development partners, Malawi Government, through the National Registration Bureau (NRB), is conducting the mass registration exercise as part of operationalizing the country’s National Registration and Identification System (NRIS).
Speaking at the launch of the exercise in Mchinji district, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia, said the national registration system will not only give legal identity to Malawians but also help improve planning and delivery of social services in the country.
Apart from enhancing provision of social services like education and health, NRB Chief Director Tresphore Kang’ombe said the national IDs will also improve efficiency in the targeting of participants for the country’s social protection programmes like social cash transfers and Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) as well as promote access to financial services.
British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett said the national IDs will contribute to government’s efforts to guarantee the fundamental right to identity, entitlement and enjoyment of full citizenship in Malawi.
“As development partners and members of the international community, we recognise and respect the need to provide legal identity to all Malawians as this is their right. We are committed to work with the government to ensure that this effort is successfully and sustainably achieved,” she said.
During a recent visit to some registration centres in Salima on June 24th, UN Resident Coordinator, Mia Seppo, expressed satisfaction with progress of the exercise, noting that lessons learnt from the first phase of the mass registration campaign will inform improvements in the next four phases of the campaign.
The mass registration exercise aims to register nine million Malawians across the country by December this year. After December, Malawi Government will continue with continuous registration of citizens who will have failed to register in the mass registration campaign and those newly turning 16, the minimum age to qualify for a national ID.
Development partners supporting the national registration exercise include the UKaid, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Norwegian Embassy, European Union (EU), Irish Aid and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).