Data for results
To harmonize interventions for vulnerable children, UNICEF supported Niger to develop a standardized information management system for child protection (CPIMS +).
The day has just risen over the capital of Manga and the city’s arteries are already bustling with pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. Contrary to what many might think, despite the state of emergency in place since February 2015, the city of Diffa is now regaining its former glory.
Armed with his notebook, Issoua Oumarou begins his day with a visit to the family of Hamsatou, a 10-year-old girl who lost her parents during an attack by an armed group from her village, Baga, in Nigeria.
Issoua is a social worker. His job is to identify vulnerable children, including children separated from their families, orphans, unaccompanied children or those who are victims of family neglect.
“Once identified, we respond according to specific needs. This can range from psychosocial support to health care and the delivery of non-food and food items.”
At Hamsatou’s – a girl he has been following for several months – Issoua has come to follow up on her reintegration and preparations for her return to school. Her host family has enrolled her in school.
"We do not stop at providing immediate assistance to the child. We make sure that the child receives continuous support until she is no longer in a situation of vulnerability,” adds Issoua.
In another part of town, Issoua has an appointment with Mahaman and his family. This child from a refugee family lost his sight due to negligence.
Today, thanks to the efforts of the Regional Directorate of Child Protection, the boy has benefited from surgery and has regained his sight. Issoua is there to see if Mahaman’s living conditions have improved and if the parents are looking after the child. Mahaman can now see and find pleasure in playing again.
“Now I can play and go wherever I want!” says Mahaman to Issoua. This provides Issoua with the opportunity to remind children and Mahaman himself to avoid places associated with the military.
After these visits, the day is not over yet for the social worker. He has to log the information he has collected on a platform called the CPIMS +: Standardized Information Management System for Child Protection.
This tool, managed by the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Child Protection, was developed at the request of stakeholders involved in child protection. The idea behind this innovation, supported by UNICEF with funding from the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), is to improve the case management system for vulnerable children and harmonize interventions.
Working with concentration on a computer in his office, Issoua updates the file of each child he has just visited. “We used to keep all the information on paper before and if the documents were ever lost, we lost all the data. But now everything is computerized and it changes everything,” he says with a smile.
Everything is done under the supervision of the Chief of the Child Protection Division who, in turn, logs in to the platform and verifies the information added by the social workers.
“Thanks to this tool, we are able to know if a social worker has visited a child, see the information he has collected and monitor all the records of children in need of assistance,” says Djibrillou Boukar.
With many actors involved in child protection, a tool like CPIMS+ is more than necessary to coordinate interventions. “CPIMS+ allows us to improve our capacities in terms of information management, and to offer quality services to crisis-affected children, as well as other vulnerable children identified and supported by different actors,” says Ildephone Birhaheka, Child Protection Officer at the UNICEF Zone Office in Diffa.
Since its launch in 2017, CPIMS+ has enabled the collection, storage, analysis and production of reports on the management of vulnerable children, as well as provide quality case management responses.
In Niger, 86 child protection agents have been trained, of whom 39 are based in the Diffa region. CPIMS+ has become an effective system for the secure management of information – which all child protection actors must adopt in the best interest of the child