RapidFTR (Rapid Family Tracing)

Organisation: UNICEF

Partners: Thoughtworks, New York University

Location: Project management in New York. Field testing planned in Uganda and potentially Haiti

Type of grant: Core – implementation

Status: Completed

  • An unaccompanied child having his details updated by a Save the Children case worker on Rapid FTR

  • John and a Save the Children case worker reviewing his detail on RapidFTR two

  • Ruth & her Aunt Daphne preparing a meal at their settlement in Rwamwanja Refugee Camp in Western Uganda

  • Ruth preparing a meal at her Aunt Daphne's settlement in Rwamwange Refugee Camp, Western Uganda

Summary: A technological application to rapidly collect and distribute data on separated children.

Challenge(s) addressed:

  • Family tracing and reunification practices in emergencies are long-winded and inefficient leaving children vulnerable to violence, exploitation and trafficking.
  • Lacking a flexible technology to facilitate reunification and tracing in emergencies which is easy to use, understand and deploy by partner organisations.

Innovation Factor: RapidFTR is designed to streamline and speed up Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) efforts both in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and during ongoing recovery efforts. The technology’s versatility and open-source nature allows for each organisation to use it on a device of their choosing as well as share data safely between organisations when necessary.

Added Value: RapidFTR functionality has been developed for the web and Blackberry platforms. The next stage of development includes both extending the functionality and supporting other devices, specifically Androids and Netbooks. By developing a netbook client, UNICEF will create instances of RapidFTR that are fully independent of the need to connect to the internet.

Input: Development of Android and Netbook platforms for non-Blackberry users to expand usage potential, support when RapidFTR is deployed and maintenance of system in response to feedback.


  • RapidFTR Application for use on Android devices and Netbooks
  • RapidFTR Web Application / API
  • RapidFTR Application for use on BlackBerry decides, OS version 4.6 to current
  • USB installer for netbooks/notebooks and locally-managed servers not connected to the internet

Impact: Children and families who have become separated in the chaos of a natural disaster or political emergency will be reunited more quickly. Information about separated children is immediately shareable amongst partners, and across camps and borders, while also avoiding the need to re-interview children multiple times at every place they end up (initial registration, transit camps etc).

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

Web design by Teamworks