Delivering better, together
On April 25, after a period of more than 16 months of concerted inter-agency effort, the CPIMS+ was successfully launched to support case management for vulnerable children in Cox's Bazar. This effort was a testament to the belief that no single actor or organization can provide all the services that a vulnerable child needs to be safe, to address their needs, and to thrive. Coordinated, integrated service provision models are widely understood to be the best practice for ensuring that children receive appropriate, targeted, high quality care. But how do you establish an integrated model in a context with so many challenges, including logistical and resource challenges, and above all, how do you ensure that at-risk children don't slip through the cracks when the demands and needs are so enormous?
The influx of Rohingya people to Cox's Bazar began in August 2017. Seeking safety and security, the population quickly swelled into the hundreds of thousands, overwhelming the organizations that were on the ground. The Child Protection Sub-sector and its Case Management Task Force began working together to bring partners together around common approaches and a standard inter-agency child protection information management system, the CPIMS+. But designing and implementing a single system that meets the needs of more than a dozen organizations - each with different types of programming and specializations - is no small task. And ensuring that these partners will be able to access the system, in a place where even 3G connectivity is limited, is a monumental challenge. Partners needed to come together.
The coordination and technical support required in this rollout were unique. End users needed a solution that could be used offline, and securely and confidentially share data for referrals and reporting. That meant deploying the CPIMS+ Android mobile client to more than 100 case workers. They needed a system with workflows and features that didn't just help them capture data, but actually helped them with their day-to-day work planning, time management, and follow up. And they needed this system to be in their mother tongue. These field-based requirements were translated into technical requirements, and a number of feature enhancements were made to the CPIMS+. Better dashboards, new roles, Bangla language, and Android performance improvements were all components of the implementation.
The work to develop and test the CPIMS+ is only part of the process. Extensive inter-agency investment was made to conduct the required data protection impact assessment, to finalize the Information Sharing Protocols, and to prepare the data migration for all the existing cases into the system. Multiple rounds of training were conducted to make sure that our end users felt confident using the system. When all these pieces were in place, the teams were ready to take the system live. Fifteen organizations, including UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Save the Children, Plan International, Terre des Hommes and Relief International and other national and international child protection organizations signed on to use the CPIMS+ to support their programming.
A cause and a commitment
Congratulations to the teams and individuals who led this implementation. It was a long and difficult process, but there is reason to celebrate. This process has allowed partners to examine closely their data management practices, and to build stronger engagements across the sub-sector. It has empowered government partners to take the lead in providing services to Rohingya children in Cox's Bazar, and it brings a powerful additional layer of accountability to the affected population. Working together, planning together, coordinating our interventions and ensuring that the rights of the child are kept front and center.
Partners in the Child Protection Sub-sector are rising to the challenge. There are currently around 900,000 Rohingya refugees in 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar, 54 per cent of whom are children. Reaching these children with protective services will take a concerted, coordinated effort. It is expected that more than 25,000 children will benefit from the CPIMS+. Now, the time has come for us to translate this investment into real results for children.