Civil registration is among the key priority areas of the Government of Sierra Leone. Since 2014 the government is taking civil registration reform and improvement measures. With the support of development partners a national civil registration reform policy was endorsed in 2014. As per the directives of the policy, National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) was created that consolidated the organization and administration of registration of vital events and national identity system. In support of the government reform commitment, donors and development partners extended their support in different forms.
Photo 1. Cross section of the CRVS Steering committee meeting.
The European Union initiated a civil registration support project with a comprehensive intervention package, covering technical and infrastructural components. The project is planned to last for three consecutive years. The technical assistance project component covers all engagement areas of the NCRA, including organizational, management, administrative, logistics and all aspects of technical and methodological issues. The project already mobilized and deployed three key experts specialized in civil registration, national identity and technology solutions. As per the provisions of the project, non-key and short term experts will be mobilized on interventions that require different specialties as identified in the project document.
Overall objectives of the Project
The overall objective of the project is for the population of Sierra Leone to possess an official and legal identity, and the dependable recording, storing and retrieval of vital events. The project also contributes to the overall objective of the 11th EDF governance programme of improved democracy, governance and public administration.
The purpose of the project is to provide the beneficiary country, Sierra Leone, and in particular the NCRA with technical assistance to strengthen its management, operational systems and institutional capacities to provide services of national identity management and the civil registration of vital events. The technical assistance aims to:
Support the policy and technical development of the integrated national civil registration system;
Strengthen the institutional capacities of the NCRA to meet its mandated objectives; and
Strengthen interoperability and use of the central database for priority stakeholders and clients.
Results to be achieved by the project
Through technical and administrative support, the project is expected to deliver the following results:
Result 1: Transfer of technical knowledge and competencies to counterparts in the NCRA for the development and implementation of national civil registration policies, regulations and legal reform advocacy.
Result 2: Maintenance and expansion of the functionality of the technology solution strengthened and facilitated, including through the development of procedures, trainings and manuals, and staff capacities.
Result 3: Improved organizational systems and staff capacity to strengthen the performance of the NCRA’s operational and administrative activities.
Result 4: Improved mechanisms of NCRA stakeholder consultation, coordination and cooperation.
Result 5: Timely preparation and execution of a Programme Estimate for the NCRA supported.
Currently, the inception phase of the project is nearly complete. However, there are few challenges that if not resolved, would adversely affect the realisation of the NCRA objectives and goals.
One of the major challenges for NCRA has been office space. The NCRA has not been able to acquire office space that could house all the components of the NCRA. However, frantic efforts are being made to get an office space.
Another challenge has been harmonisation of the civil registration system. Though there has been an Act of Parliament mandating the NCRA to do compulsory civil registration of vital events, the challenge lies in bringing all the components to an integrated vital registration system because of the technology development, capacity building of the technical staff, and above all the funding required to undertake the exercise. Despite this challenge, the director general has been occupied in trying to garner support from government and development partners in order to achieve this goal. It is in that regard the EU offered a grant of €11M as technical assistance to the NCRA course.
The project is expected to impact the organization, management and operations of NCRA and its key stakeholders in various forms. Among them ‘knowledge transfer’ takes the central place. The techniques and methods of registration of vital events and business processes of national identity document issuing will change significantly. The institutional and IT infrastructures would be improved and the capacity of NCRA in responding to demands of the public and stakeholders would be improved fundamentally. Specifically, continuous and timely compilation of statistics on births and deaths would be initiated and hence NCRA starts responding to health and population dynamics data and information demands. Overall, the project is expected to impact the level of commitment of donors and development partners as it brings promising methodological and operational systemic improvements in the national CRVS systems.