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Nele Bostoen and Eleonora Mansi, UN Volunteers with UNICEF in Uganda

20 November 2011

Kampala, Uganda: Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification (RapidFTR) is a new technology that allows quick input of essential data about a child on a mobile phone. It was developed by volunteer university students to help UNICEF trace and reunite unaccompanied children with their families.

For UNICEF in Uganda, UN Volunteers Nele Bostoen and Eleonora Mansi tested this newly-developed mobile phone application, by simulating emergency scenarios with 30 children of Railway Children Primary School in Kampala. In only a few minutes, they set up the children’s profiles by including photographs and essential data like age, family, health status and location, using the Rapid FTR tool on their mobile phones. From this very moment, anyone in UNICEF could access the data and share information through the same tool.

“We were happy to have successfully tested the RapidFTR tool because, through it, thousands of children can find the way back to their families,” say the UN Volunteers.

The task was challenging as some of the children might have experienced difficult situations like this young girl who was missing her seven-month-old baby in her home village, because her grandmother died while she stayed in Kampala to earn a living.

“Such confrontations with the hard realities that children face can make us feel sad, but also even more motivated and committed to unite our efforts for the children of Uganda.  And that’s what we are here for.”

Read Nele’s and Eleonora’s full story

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)