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App Brings Families Together in Case of Emergency

In crisis situations, whether natural (e.g. earthquakes, floods, tsunamis) or political (e.g. violent conflict, forced movement of populations), children are especially at risk. Children who become separated from their families are the most vulnerable. 

Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) is the vital process of returning lost children to the safety and protection of their families. Despite advances in information technology the current process remained desperately manual.

In 2010, in response to the challenges of the Haiti earthquake, UNICEF Innovation, New York University's ITP, and ThoughtWorks developed RapidFTR, a system that combines smart-phone and netbook clients with a network hosted modern NoSQL backend database allowing field workers to capture children's details even where network connectivity was unavailable. Today the program is entirely open-source and driven by volunteers, including more than 100 ThoughtWorkers since 2010.

RapidFTR was trialled in a refugee camp in Uganda and, most recently, in the Philippines.

Caption: Deploying RapidFTR in the Philippines.

Learn more: 

View the recent media coverage in the NY Times and The Guardian to learn how the app has been used to help reunite children with their families. 

Read about Sri Prasanna, a senior developer at ThoughtWorks, and his unforgettable experience being on the ground deploying RapidFTR and helping children reunite with their families in the Phillippines. He also provides ways to get involved. 

Share the Unicef Stories: Innovations in Emergenices, Reporting from the Phillippines First Six Days, and days Seven to 12