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Registering Newborn Babies by Smartphone
By Wouter Elsen
15 Mar 2016

According to a report published in 2013 by UNICEF “One in three children under-five does not officially exist."
The report says “the births of nearly 230 million children under-five have never been registered; approximately one in three of all children under-five around the world.”
Children unregistered at birth will not have documentation proving who they are, including a birth certificate, which can deny them from accessing education, health care and social security programs and from obtaining a passport.
For poor families in underdeveloped countries, especially those living in remote areas, registering a birth can mean having to travel a great distance to a government office which they do not have time to do or for which they are not able to afford the cost.
Adama Sawadogo, a documentation security consultant in Burkina Faso worked three years on an invention he calls ‘iCivil’ that could revolutionize the registration of children. iCivil couples the SMS text capabilities of a smartphone with a secure authentication technology called ‘Bubble Tag’, developed by the French company Prooftag.
A newborn child receives a wrist bracelet with a QR (Quick Response) barcode which can be scanned by the smartphone. Details of the child’s birth are then sent as an SMS message to a central computer server operated by the government of the country.


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My Son's Birth, Through my Lens
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By George Nickels
27 Dec 2014

If you’re a man in Cambodia, being present at the birth of your child is widely frowned upon. As both the prospective father and a camera-wielding photo-journalist, attending and documenting the birth of my son was a challenge, to say the least.

At 8pm on 26 December 2014, my partner of nearly nine years alerted me that her water had broken. She started to have her first contractions, but we were advised to stay home, get some food and rest, and wait it out until the morning.

By 7am and after a sleepless night, the intensity of Madeline’s contractions reached a peak every ten minutes; it was time to leave. Descending seven flights of stairs from our apartment in Phnom Penh, we hailed a remork (tuk tuk) to take us across the city on a journey that would change our lives forever. As is common in the capital city, the driver said he knew where to go, (which meant no, I don’t, please tell me), so with the limited Khmer that I knew, and ten minutes trying to explain where the clinic was, we came to an agreement and departed.

For twenty minutes, in a rickety wooden carriage towed by a 125cc motorcycle, on substandard roads, we careered through early morning city traffic on with Madeline panting heavily all the way to the clinic. On arrival, Doctors and midwives monitored the baby’s heartbeat, and then lead us to the room that we had pre booked, ready for Madeline to start the first stages of labour.

For the next four hours, the intensity in the room increased tenfold; I watched as the midwives coached Madeline with every technique in the book to ease her pain and mental state. Encouraging deep breathing and keeping her calm was part of my support role .When the staff decided she was ready, my partner told me to grab my camera. She was screaming as they wheeled her upstairs to the delivery room, and I realized I was about to begin documenting the birth of my son.

From a photographer’s point of view, taking photographs of my woman giving birth was not easy. She was in a lot of discomfort and pain, so trying document this, whilst retaining her dignity, was both mentally and physically draining.

There were other factors I had to take into consideration. Room to move was at a premium; I was in a small delivery room with six medical staff and a pregnant woman, so gaining the trust of the midwives and doctors was essential. Lighting conditions were very harsh, and Madeline was constantly moving from one chair to another, from standing to sitting, and from crouching and crawling positions.

The majority of the time I was supporting my partner and wishing for a safe and problem free delivery, and she says she can only recall one moment of me taking photographs from the entire labour. Madeline was having very heavy contractions whilst kneeling on the floor on her hands and knees. My natural instinct as a photographer kicked in, and as I lay on my back in front of her, pointing the camera at her pain stricken face, I composed the frame and took the photograph. This was the only point in the delivery when my partner told me to stop taking photos and to hold her hands!

The images shown were taken in the last three hours of a fairly short seven-hour natural labour, and at 1.50 p.m. on the 27th of December, we were blessed with our first son, Frank Nickels.

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Libya's Rebirth 14
Tripoli, Libya
By Monique Jaques
08 Jul 2012

A newly born baby in incubation in Tripoli Medical Center. Children born after the Civil War will never know what Libya was like under former president Muammar Gaddafi.

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Libya's Rebirth 3
Tripoli, Libya
By Monique Jaques
08 Jul 2012

Mabroka Rajah with her newly born baby in Tripoli Medical Center. Children born after the civil war will never know what Libya was like under Gaddafi.

42 years after the reign of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and a violent civil war, Libya is waking up to a new and free country. With civil services and the country's infrastructure in ruins, Libyans struggle with the transition period from dictatorship to democracy. On July 7, 2012, Libyans voted in their first parliamentary elections since the end of Gaddafi's rule.

Mabroka Rajah et son nouveau né dans au Centre Médical de Tripoli. Comme celui de Mabroka, les enfants nés après la guerre civile ne connaitrons jamais ce qu'était la vie sous le régime de Kadhafi.

Après 42 ans d'un régime dictatorial et une violente guerre civile qui a laissé les infrastructures du pays en ruines, la Libye apprivoise peu a peu sa nouvelle liberté et les défis de la transition vers la démocratie. Le 7 juillet dernier, les Libyens étaient appelés aux urnes pour la première fois depuis la fin de l'ère Kadhafi afin d'élire les 200 membres du futur Congrès national général, qui sera chargé de rédiger une Constitution pour le pays.