The International Organization for Migration (IOM), from 5-6 March 2019, supported the National Registration Bureau (NRB) in conducting community awareness on the National Identity Cards (ID) in Mberikine Location in Meru County and West Location in Isiolo County.The activities reached over 400 community members and is part of the ongoing IOM Development Fund (IDF) project on, “Strengthening the Capacity of the Government of Kenya to Manage National Identity Programmes.”The community engagements were spearheaded by Mr.Kennedy Nduati, Deputy Director, NRB. They provided opportunities for the community members to directly engage with NRB representatives and clarify issues regarding acquisition of national IDs.
The communities were sensitized on: importance of acquiring national identity cards upon reaching the statutory age of 18 which is fundamental in accessing the government services including Higher Education Loan for universities, financial services such as bank and mobile phone loans, social services like the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) among others. An ID also proves the individual human right to register and vote in the national elections. Senior citizens with IDs are able to access social services like inua jamii which is an Older Persons Cash Transfer plan by the Kenyan government.
Mr Nduati emphasized the benefits of accurately identifying oneself during registration and the legal implications of acquiring identity cards through fraudulent means and misrepresentation of information.The community members in both Counties expressed their satisfaction with government services especially the mobile registration of national identity cards at the village level. This has solved the logistical challenges such as distance to registration points, cost of travel, time as well movement for the physically impaired. “The forum clarified the application process and was of a great importance, it was an eye opener for mwanachi on importance of IDs” - from an anonymous respondent in the post-event feedback form.
IOM recognizes the importance of access to national identity and overall wellbeing of citizens by claiming socioeconomic and political opportunities provided under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) such as 16.9, to “provide legal identity for all, including birth registration,” and its connectedness to other SDGs like reducing poverty and gender equality as well as the SDG 10.7 to “facilitate orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility of people". The County-level sensitization events are practical steps in ensuring that target communities are informed and access the required identity cards. Under this IDF project, IOM has also supported the government with needs assessment and capacity building of NRB officers among others.