Not long ago, a child in Accra, Ghana’s capital, accidentally became separated from their family. Case workers with the government jumped into action, undertaking a search to locate relatives among Accra’s more than 2 million residents. The mission: to ensure the child could swiftly return home
Kingsley Agordo, a case manager in the Greater Accra Region, alternated between checking in on the child in the hospital, reaching out to community contacts, and coordinating outreach to the media. Before long, he helped locate the child’s family and reunite them.
“The satisfaction I get when I see smiles on people’s faces is what keeps me going through the challenges they are facing, and the challenges we case workers face,” Agordo says.
Agordo is just one of thousands of social workers who use Primero, a case management tool provided by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, to connect clients to needed supports.
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence. This includes work with partners to promote policies and expand access to vital social services that protect children from violence, exploitation, and abuse. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this mission has never been more vital.
Innovation is at the heart of UNICEF’s ability to achieve results for children and young people. For decades, UNICEF has developed effective, evidence-based solutions and adapted them to local circumstances. The organization uses this approach with technology, too, to protect and promote the human rights of children, especially the most disadvantaged.
The Azure-based platform has already helped social workers like Agordo and many others to reach more than 100,000 vulnerable children in 28 countries and territories. UNICEF, Microsoft, and Quoin, a software firm leading the development of Primero, have streamlined the platform as a web application and software as a service (SaaS). As a result, staff on the ground are poised to serve even more.
“This digital tool is going to revolutionize case management,” says Cornelius Williams, UNICEF associate director and chief of child protection. He explains that the tool will allow governmental agencies and other partners to focus time and funding on services instead of IT; deploy more quickly in humanitarian crises; improve the quality and consistency of care to vulnerable groups; and protect the privacy of at-risk children.
The new version of Primero is currently being piloted in Ghana, with expected releases in dozens of other countries through 2022. UNICEF aims to have Primero live in 60 countries by 2025.
As Williams says, “The partnership between UNICEF and Microsoft will help strengthen the Primero platform and scale it up to benefit millions of vulnerable children and young people, both now and in the future.”