This fact sheet introduces Community Links, an approach to strengthening child protection referral pathways through enhanced linkages between informal and formal systems of protection and by empowering community-based protection actors to connect vulnerable children to appropriate referral services. With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), ChildFund International collaborated with Root Change and Medic Mobile to adapt the Community Links approach to meet the needs of Ebola-affected children in Liberia.
When Ebola-affected children are discharged from Interim Care Centers or Ebola Treatment Units, a two-way SMS messaging system is used to conduct follow-up well-being checks and to monitor successful reintegration into the community. The approach supports and deepens vital linkages between social workers and other community-based child protection actors (“MESSENGERS”) and appropriate referral agencies (“RESPONDERS”) in the areas of protection, health, and education using a cutting-edge mobile technology platform (“the HUB”).
Community Links has been launched in 3 counties in Liberia. To date, 56 social workers from the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP) as well as other child protection actors, have been trained on it. The technology is a tool to support and enhance prevailing options, and is in alignment with the Ministry’s existing Child Tracking Form and case management protocols. It is estimated that by project’s end the well-being of 1300 children will be tracked in real-time through the mobile technology platform.