Of Huduma Centre and Birth Certificate Woes in Kenya
Birth certificate is a crucial document not only in Kenya but throughout the world. You will need this document to process other documents like for example a passport.
I had a strong desire of obtaining one and due to my busy schedule at work, I could not get time to travel upcountry (300 km away from the city) to apply for one. I researched and was glad to find information online that it was possible to do a late registration of birth and obtain a birth certificate at any Huduma Centre. I equipped myself with original national Identity card and those of my parents together with a baptismal card and a school leaving certificate as these are the requirements for late registration of birth.
Armed with all the requirements, I proceeded to the nearest Huduma centre. At the inquiry desk I stated my aim to apply for a birth certificate and the first question from the lady at the desk was, were you born in Nairobi? I said NO! But I read online that I can make an application for a birth certificate at any Huduma centre? To cut the long story short, I could not be helped there simply because I was born in another county.
Curious to know if what I researched had some truth, I asked if there is a place in Nairobi I could get help. She told me I will have to go to ACK garden in Upper hill opposite NSSF and I will be sorted there. Still excited that my desire could be granted, I proceeded to ACK offices.
On arrival, the queues were very discouraging. Afraid that I may queue and not get any assistance, I decided to inquire if my case will be sorted there and to my disappointment, I was asked the same question! Where were you born? In other words they could still not help me. I asked the gentleman if there were any chances of me getting a birth certificate in the city and without hesitating he said yes. With a hopeful spirit I asked where? I was surely determined to make an application. It is possible if you go to the headquarters he said. I quickly asked for directions and off I went with the help of Google. This turn to Hass plaza.
Luckily enough I never got lost. By the time I arrived it was already 3pm and the queues were not very long. The office was so disorganized though, no proper procedures or proper signage to give direction. Nevertheless, I was glad I arrived one hour before closure of the office. I joined what looked like a queue in the waiting area and waited patiently for my turn.
To my greatest disappointment I was asked the same question for the third time. Where were you born? And I answered quickly thinking maybe they have a way of sorting each person differently but NO! I was told to go back to where I was born. “But I have my parent’s original Identity cards and ….” The lady did not even wait for me to ask my questions or at least let her know that I had all the documents they needed, she called the next person in line. I stood there for a minute thinking why on earth did the Huduma centre lady not tell me it is impossible for one to get a birth certificate in Nairobi if you were born elsewhere? Did I have to go round the whole Nairobi to be told it is impossible?
If you don’t have a birth certificate yet, don’t bother or torture yourself trying to apply for one in a county you were not born in. Just spare your energy and time and go back to your roots.
Guest Writer: – Vivacious