By Amanda James
When Mahmoud Hussein’s wallet was stolen by a pickpocket, he knew he needed to get a new ID card immediately.
In Kenya, a person needs an ID card to vote, enroll in school, get a job, obtain a driver’s license, file a police report and, in some cases, to enter a law office or courtroom.
But faced with hurdles including multiple vetting processes by committees of elders and security personnel who demanded to see more paperwork than he could provide, he didn’t get a new one for 29 years.
Meanwhile, he had to rely on his wife’s income and struggled to make ends meet, according to a spokesperson for Namati, a nonprofit organization that helped Hussein obtain an ID.
Hussein was among the 1 billion people across the globe who face challenges in proving who they are because they lack official proof of their identity.