There are more than 4.3 million displaced people in South Sudan, and more than half of these are children.
Aid organizations Save the Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund have been working together to help identify children and return them to their families. These agencies have developed the “Lost Children” app to manage child protection cases in real-time.
Internet instability is a challenge in some parts of the country, so the app has been developed to work offline and connect twice a day to update a central database that helps aid organizations to track their progress in bringing families back together, AfricaTimes reports.
The app allows hundreds of field workers tracing families in South Sudan to share information on their phones or tablets.
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The children have been separated from families due to a civil war that has been raging in South Sudan since the end of 2013.
Sudden attacks on villages often split families up as children and parents flee in different directions to seek safety from attackers. Children and parents lost each other in the confusion and have remained separated ever since, unsure if family members are even alive.
In April 2019, the partnership between Save The Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund reached an important milestone as 6,000 children had been reunited with their parents and siblings since 2014.
This means that almost 43 percent of separated children are back with their families, with 8,000 more South Sudanese children who need help.
The mobile app helps make process of reconnecting families more efficient, according to aid organizations.
It eliminates the need for cumbersome paperwork and adds the capacity to record audio and images so it’s easier to track down family members and reunite children with their loved ones, Reuters reports.
The app is an important digital tool for social workers who often walk for hours in the heat or travel on poor roads to remote areas while attempting to find lost children.