In April, partner agencies Save the Children and UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, marked a milestone in South Sudan as they reached 6,000 children reunited with their families – families torn apart for years by the ongoing civil war and displacement.
Now, they have a new digital tool to continue the work. The agencies rolled out on Friday a new online database and mobile app to manage child protection cases in real time. It’s expected to reduce the time committed to paperwork under challenging conditions, and adds the capacity to record audio and images so that it’s easier to track down family members and reunite children with their loved ones.
“With internet connectivity being extremely poor across South Sudan, the app is designed to be downloaded and then synced at the beginning and end of the day,” the agencies said in a statement. “The app also works across different agencies, linking up case managers across the country and ensuring a continuity of support for each child registered in the system.”
The system was developed for global use but is customized for South Sudan, where caseworkers often walk for hours in the heat, or travel on poor roads to remote areas to find children and ensure their safety.
“Case workers are the backbone of everything we do,” said Rama Hansraj, Save the Children’s country director in South Sudan. “They are the protectors of children at the worst end of a conflict or disaster – those who have been abused, exploited, lost their parents, or have seen things that no child should see.”
They are in every corner of South Sudan, Hansraj said, “yet until now have found it difficult to communicate with other case workers on the other side of the country. With this new app, we’re bringing their work into the 21st century.”
Image: Save the Children/Tito Justin