Primero, a digital platform for the protection of children in migratory contexts
Open source software platform that helps social services, humanitarian and development workers manage data related to child protection through tools that facilitate case management, incident tracking, migrant child tracing and family reunification.
The platform collects and manages data on children encountered in emergency migration contexts, and combines proven tools, global best practices and the latest open source technology to offer social service and humanitarian protection workers an easy-to-use and scalable solution to their data management challenges.
Primero enables its users to document events and violations to provide protection programs with up-to-date information on risk factors and patterns of violations. At the same time, child victims of violence can be linked to the services they need and prevention measures can be implemented to mitigate future risks. The platform’s powerful analytics and reporting tools ensure that the data is actionable.
Primero offers intuitive digital forms and clear workflows to help document case management processes, from identification and registration, to assessment, case planning, referrals and transfers, and case closure. With robust monitoring capabilities including email notifications for certain processes.
The platform uses sophisticated matching technology to match follow-up requests made by caregivers with the records of children registered as separated or unaccompanied. Matching criteria can be configured to meet the needs of the context. These functions are supported by a comprehensive case management module to ensure that children receive appropriate care.
Primero is a progressive web application (PWA) and leverages the latest technology to combine the best of web and mobile apps. The web app works across all browsers, regardless of operating system and on any device (mobile, tablet, laptop). It requires no previous user experience and can also be used offline, so that social workers can manage their work from anywhere, wherever they are. At the same time it offers the security and efficiency of digital case management in low connectivity configurations.
The Primero project began in 2013 as a result of many years of inter-agency collaboration. Its goal was to bring more consistent, cost-effective and user-friendly information management tools.
In 2020, immigrant returns from the United States and Mexico increased 225 percent compared to 2019. Restrictive measures in both countries also led to returns of children, many of whom were left without asylum, despite being victims of family, gender or sexual violence.
UNICEF Guatemala has been working with these children for years and, thanks to its collaboration with Guatemalan institutions, launched the Primero program to ensure the protection and reunification of Guatemalan children at risk.
Guatemala is a country with high levels of migration, both due to its geographic location, as well as poverty and violence rates. Since 2018, the “caravan” phenomenon has taken place, with thousands of people leaving the country with the goal of entering the United States. In 2019, more than 200,000 children were apprehended at the country’s border, and more than 19,000 were returned in Guatemala. Therefore, Primero was born out of the need to respond to the needs and emergency situations in which these children find themselves in a migratory context.
Level of implementation
Guatemala is the first country in Latin America in which the Primero program was implemented, and since it became operational in 2020, more than 13,000 cases have been followed up.
It has now been rolled out through UNICEF in addition to 40 countries around the world, and more than 250,000 cases have been registered internationally.