On 21 March, the towns of Roeselare (Belgium) and Dogbo (Benin) received the first prize of the PLATFORMAwards for their joint birth registration programme. After six years, Dogbo has become a reference in the field of civil registration in Benin, a country where more than 40% of births are not registered.
The ceremony took place at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels, in presence of Henk Kindt, Deputy Mayor of Roeselare, and Vincent Codjo Acakpo, Mayor of Dogbo, who were handed the award by Arne Lietz, Member of the European Parliament.
Without birth certificates, legally, children do not exist. Moreover, proof of legal identity is required to obtain a passport, open a bank account, have a driver’s license, to vote and access education and social security services. Mr Acakpo stressed that in Benin, “many people don’t have papers to prove their nationality”. “But thanks to Roeselare, 100% of the 16,289 kids born for the last 5 years have this document”. Mr Kindt dedicated the prize to “all kids of Dogbo”.
The two cities will be rewarded with the production of a video to promote their cooperation project (video value fixed at €10,000).
The PLATFORMAwards aim to reward the best town-to-town and region-to-region development cooperation projects, promoting decentralised cooperation and collecting data and indicators from the best European practices.For this first edition, PLATFORMA received 25 applications, representing 42 decentralised cooperation projects from 75 local and regional governments from 30 different countries!
The other finalists were:
- Second prize: Nouvelle-Aquitaine (France) and Plateau-Central (Burkina Faso) regions for a program on the promotion of sustainable economic development, the fight against climate change and the support to local governance and employment
- Third prize: Inca (Spain) and Telpaneca (Nicaragua) for a town twinning established in 2001 covering education, water management and sanitation, support to local economies and cooperatives
- Special Prize of the Jury: Panevezys (Lithuania) and Ialoveni (Moldova) for an encouraging project on civil protection and healthcare
- Special Mention of the Jury: the Province of Barcelona (Spain) and the Municipalities of Al Sahel (Lebanon) for a project on urbanization aimed at helping municipalities in the massive and rapid displacement of refugees
Discover the pictures of the ceremony on Flickr