Boboyo, Cameroon – October 06, 2023 – In a vibrant tribute to solidarity and commitment, Fred-Eric Essam travelled to Boboyo as part of his trip to Cameroon, which began on October 1. In Boboyo, Fred-Eric Essam had the honor of delivering 1,000 birth certificates to disadvantaged children in the Canton. Fred-Eric Essam’s act of kindness came after heavy rain had made the road to Boboyo almost inaccessible.
Despite the weather conditions, 3,500 people had already crowded in front of the Boboyo pre-school to show their support for Fred-Eric Essam’s initiative to help improve children’s living conditions.
The ceremonial welcome was presided over by high-level representatives of Kaele, including the Sub-Prefect, the Mayor and the traditional authority of Boboyo, His Majesty the Lamido of Boboyo. Fred-Eric Essam was praised for his tireless dedication to the causes of the people for over a decade, in emotional speeches by distinguished authorities who emphasized the importance of having a birth certificate.
In his speech, the sub-prefect spoke of the urgent problem of ignorance. He pointed out that in Cameroon, birth certificates are issued free of charge at birth, but many children at school age are denied this essential identity document. After six months, the process of obtaining a birth certificate via the hospital, including confirmations of apparent age and court proceedings, becomes extremely costly and unaffordable for many families. The initiative led by Fred-Eric Essam aims to mobilize parents, traditional rulers, the mayor’s office, the elite as a whole and administrative authorities to raise awareness of the birth certificate process and to extend it to the entire circonscription.
The Sous-préfet began by emphasizing that ” Birth certificates are not granted in order to keep children at home, but to ensure that these children have a legal existence and are entitled to all their rights as Cameroonians”.
Fred-Eric Essam also addressed the urgent need to provide children with a legal identity. He emphasized how shocking it is that 1.8 million schoolchildren across the country have no birth certificate. “Children without birth certificates are often victims of injustice, are unable to fully exercise their fundamental rights and face an uncertain future,” Essam urged.
A study carried out by Cameroon’s Bureau National de l’Etat Civil (BUNEC) estimates that 420,000 children of pre-school and elementary school age in the Far North region have no birth certificate and therefore do not officially exist. The non-existence of a birth certificate is one of the main reasons why children drop out of school, and is a major obstacle to their education.
ident.africa e.V. has set itself the goal of tackling this structural problem in northern Cameroon. The issuing of a birth certificate is a crucial step towards access to basic social services, healthcare, vaccinations and education. Fred-Eric Essam concludes: “In this way, we are building the foundations of education and opening up new opportunities for children.
“Fred-Eric Essam’s initiative reminds us of the importance of every child’s identity and fundamental rights. The initiative is a sign of hope and change that extends far beyond Boboyo and Cameroon”, said Mrs Magou Paulette, Deputy Mayor of Kaélé.
The “marathon” day ended with a delicious dinner offered by the women of Boboyo Canton.