Rwanda civil registration and vital statistics systems

Type Report
Title Rwanda civil registration and vital statistics systems
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
The comprehensive assessment of the Rwanda Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems has
been conducted within the framework, principles and guidelines of the Africa Programme on
Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (APAI-CRVS), which is
guided by the policy directives of the Conference of African Ministers. The programme is
steered by a regional CRVS Secretariat based at the United Nations Economic Commission for
Africa (UNECA) and a partnership of the lead Pan-African Organizations – the African Union
Commission and the African Development Bank (AfDB), United Nations agencies and nongovernmental
organizations that form the Africa CRVS Core Group.
The African Ministers responsible for civil registration, in September 2012 and February 2015,
adopted a set of resolutions committing their respective governments to doing whatever is
required to modernize their civil registration systems and maximize their functionalities
and efficacy. The Ministers however acknowledged that meaningful and sustainable change
would be based on a prior complete understanding and knowledge of the current state of the civil
registration system, obtained through a comprehensive assessment, which all countries are
expected to undertake.
An assessment of Rwanda’s CRVS systems was conducted by a core team composed of the
members from government institutions, namely Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC),
Ministry of Health (MOH), National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) and National
Identification Agency (NIDA in collaboration with other key stakeholder institutions, namely
Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Ministry of Justice (MINIJUST),
National Commission for Children (NCC), Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), World Vision
Rwanda, Plan International Rwanda; and with support from development partners (UNICEF
Rwanda, UNECA and AfDB). This exercise was conducted under the lead of NISR. The aim of
the comprehensive assessment was to identify strengths and weaknesses in the current CRVS
systems, draw lessons from what has and has not worked, and provide recommendations on how
improvements can be made and sustained. The specific objectives were (i) to review the
adequacy of laws on CRVS systems including causes of death; and ascertain the degree of
compliance with the laws; (ii) to identify the strengths and weaknesses in current systems, and
draw important lessons; (iii) to identify ways through which weaknesses can be improved in line
with international recommendations; (iv) to explore opportunities that can be used to strengthen
the CRVS systems; (v) to evaluate the basis of demand and use of civil registration products and
services; and (vi) to serve as one of the major inputs for developing a national CRVS
improvement strategic plan.
Methodology of the assessment
The assessment was undertaken by a group of 17 senior officials from: MINALOC, MOH,
MINIJUST, MIGEPROF, NISR, NIDA, NCC, RBC, Plan International Rwanda and World
Vision Rwanda. Five Task Teams were formed according to the following five themes: (i) Policy
and legal framework for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics; (ii) Operations and practices in
birth registration; (iii) Operations and practices in death registration, recording and processing of
causes of death; (iv) Operations and practices in production of vital statistics from civil
registration; and (v) Operations and practices in marriage and divorce registration.
The field data were collected from 16th of August 2016 up to 4th of September 2016. Field visits
included interviewing functionaries pre-identified for each Task Team and also holding
interviews with stakeholders at various levels and civil registration clients. A combination of
geographical locations (urban and rural centers, and other settlements such refugee camps, areas
with high population density, etc), institutions (public and private), individuals (including
community leaders, public officials, service providers and beneficiaries) were targeted for the
survey in five geographical regions of the country: City of Kigali, Western Province, Eastern
Province, Southern Province and Northern Province.
The assessment was based on the assessment tool prepared by UNECA, which was adapted to
the national specificities and was then tested and translated into Kinyarwanda. The study was
based on primary and secondary data supported with desk reviews. The fieldwork component of
the assessment was organized as a qualitative survey.

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