Purpose of assignment: (Attach background documents, if necessary)
The Convention on the Rights of the Children (Article 7) categorically states and makes it binding upon the States Parties, to which Pakistan is a signatory, to undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for a child to be registered immediately after birth and have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
Accordingly, UNICEF’s Child Protection Strategy identifies birth registration as one of the priority action areas for supporting national child protection systems. The Strategy recognises birth registration as a human right, which can strengthen children’s access to legal protection and basic social services. Birth registration can also improve national data, planning, policy and budgets. It supports the implementation of national legislation on minimum ages, including for child labour, child recruitment and child marriage, and is valuable for tracing efforts when children are separated from their parents. Birth registration helps in preventing statelessness by facilitating the acquisition of nationality by birth or descent through documenting the relationship between the child, his or her parents and place of birth. UNICEF has been working with partners, including international financial institutions (IFIs), governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to strengthen support for birth registration, placing special emphasis on vulnerable and excluded groups.
The status of birth registration in Pakistan is far less than satisfactory. National statistics show that just over a quarter of births (27.0%) are registered, with 32.0% and 24.0% birth registration in urban and rural areas respectively. Within these figures there is huge disparity, with less than 1.0% of births being registered in Baluchistan (MICS Baluchistan 2003-04) but more than 77.0% of births being registered in Punjab (MICS Punjab 2007-08). Since the creation of Pakistan, a universal birth registration system has never been fully implemented; forcing government functionaries to frequently overlook their own rules requiring proof of birth to access different services i.e. school enrolment.
With the promulgation of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), 2000 (VIII of 2000) Ordinance and Local Government Ordinance 2001, the system governing birth registration has undergone a significant transformation in the last few years. A consequence of these changes has been the creation of dichotomous functions between NADRA and Union Council offices in the governance and administration of the birth registration process. In many contexts, particularly rural settings, attempts to fully integrate NADRA and Union Council office functions have highlighted a range of capacity gaps in the latter and coordination challenges for the former. In parallel with these systemic challenges, there is a renewed need at the community and household levels to improve knowledge on the benefits and process of registering children’s births.
Addressing this situation requires, on the one hand, advocacy and technical support for strengthening and harmonizing birth registration systems and, on the other hand, a concerted social mobilisation and communication campaign for promoting and changing behaviours related to birth registration. Unfortunately, at the present time there is little or no information available at the household, community and facility levels to support the design of a holistic and sustainable approach for achieving universal birth registration in Pakistan, especially in rural areas.
The purpose of this assignment, therefore, is to conduct a multilevel gap analysis study at facility, community and household levels with regards to the registration of births in two districts of Pakistan, namely Jacobabad and Umerkot in Sindh province. The study is to be conducted in lines with a similar analysis already conducted in two districts of Balochistan province earlier this year. The salient features of this study are as follows:
The study will have three broad components.
1. Analysis of major impediments in achieving universal registration of children soon after birth at the household level, both conceived through supply-side or originating from demand-side issues; with emphasise on gender and equity aspects of such impediments;
2. Assessment of knowledge, attitudes and practices among key community individuals in relation to the promotion of birth registration, including concerned government officials at the district and provincial levels, i.e. NADRA; and
3. Capacity audit of Union Council offices, in terms of their accessibility, visibility and overall capacity in relation to the goal of universalization of birth registration as well as their linkages with other organs of the state in regards to the promotion of birth registration.
Note: This assignment/study is to be conducted by two consultants/investigators, one responsible for components 1 and 2 and the other responsible for component 3.
Study Tools and Instruments:
At least 16 (or more if information remains inconsistent in any homogenous groups) Focus Group Discussions will be conducted per District to elucidate the issues experienced at the household level. Sessions will be conducted with homogenous groups of parents in rural areas, with groups segmented by a range of criteria including:
- Fathers/mothers with at least two living children under the age of 18
- Those who have had at least one of their children registered (subject to participant identification and availability) / those who have had no children registered.
25-30 in-depth interviews per District with key individuals from distinct local groups including:
- Concerned district government officials and NADRA staff, also at provincial level
- Community health workers / Traditional birth attendants
- School teachers
- Religious leaders
- Social workers
- Other community notables.
Where possible, selected informants should represent an even mix of males and females.
A capacity audit conducted in all Union Council offices of each District including:
- Visual documentation of the exterior of the office
- Audit checklist and interviews with the Registrar and/or the Secretary of the Union Council. In case of unavailability of either the Registrar or the Secretary of the Union Council, at least one follow-up visit will be made to conduct the interview.
- Unstructured questionnaires and broad interview guidelines will be used to conduct all interviews.
- Focus group discussion will comprise 8 to 10 individuals and should not last more than 40 minutes.
- In-depth interview should not be of more than 30 minutes’ duration.
- Audit checklist is to be prepared in consultation with a competent official.
- All study tools will be pretested before being applied in the field.
- All data collection must comply with the principle of informed consent, as well as the ethical guidelines documented in UNICEF’s Principles and Guidelines for Ethical reporting on Children and Young People under the age of 18 years (see http://www.unicef.org/eapro/Reporting_on_children_and_young_pp.pdf).
Selection of Respondents:
As a primarily qualitative study of a specific issue, respondent selection should be based on appropriate purposive sampling methods.
Component 1: For the focus groups, three villages from primarily rural Union Councils and a ward from an urban union council will be selected. Community health workers/social workers and Union Council Secretaries may provide support in participant identification and recruitment. In each randomly selected village two focus group discussions (one male, one female) will be held.
Component 2: A total of 25-30 in-depth interviews will be conducted across each district with at least four different groups of key individuals, one to comprise concerned district government officials and NADRA staff, also at provincial level. It will be ensured that key individuals of different distinct groups are not from the same Union Council.
Component 3: The capacity audit of Union Council offices (and follow-up visits as needed) will be conducted during office hours. The audit checklist may be filled out with the assistance of any competent official at the Union Council office but it is essential that either the Registrar or the Union Council Secretary is interviewed, preferably both.
Objectives of the consultancy:
This study will contribute to the overall goals of UNICEF’s Child Protection Section by:
1. Developing contextual understanding on the issue of low birth registration in Pakistan, specifically in Sindh province;
2. Identifying gaps in visibility and execution of birth registration at the local government level to guide future capacity development initiatives;
3. Highlighting key barriers and constraints at the community and household levels in the registration of births; and
4. Providing an evidence base to inform the development of a program approach on achieving universalization of birth registration in Pakistan, especially in Sindh.
The lead consultants may be based anywhere in Pakistan but needs to have a demonstrated capacity for undertaking quality fieldwork in adherence with UNICEF’s security regulations in Sindh Province. He/she may also be required to visit Islamabad/Karachi offices of UNICEF for any consultation meetings.
Major tasks to be accomplished:
The interrelated parts of the assignment are as follows:
1. Revision, documentation and approval of the methodology and project plan for the collection, analysis and presentation of data and findings, including random area selection in districts of Jacobabad and Umerkot and preparation of a detailed field plan in consultation with UNICEF’s Child Protection and Security teams; as well as in light of field experience from the Balochistan Study;
2. Revision of interview guidelines, informed consent forms, audit checklist and other study tools, including monitoring tools;
Fieldwork: Undertake fieldwork and transcribe interviews;
1. Collate and analyse gathered information and prepare report outline;
2. Prepare the first draft report. Note that findings must conform to the qualitative research standards of ‘trustworthiness’, possessing the attributes of:
1. Finalize study report in light of feedback received through the peer review process;
1. Present report and a summary PowerPoint presentation outlining key findings, analysis of central themes and recommendations about next steps.
Consultant [Component 1 and 2]
1. Detailed project plan for implementation of gap analysis study at household and community levels;
2. Revised interview guidelines and monitoring tools;
3. Digital interview recordings, participant profiles and transcripts of interviews;
4. Final study report; and
5. Summary PowerPoint presentation.
Consultant [Component 3]
1. Detailed project plan for implementation of gap analysis at facility level;
2. Revised interview guidelines and audit checklists and monitoring tools;
3. Digital interview recordings, facilities profiles as per the audit checklist, union council imagery and transcripts of interviews;
4. Final study report; and
5. Summary PowerPoint presentation.
The study is to be conducted over the duration of three months in 50 workdays time by two consultants: