After a period of hard work, by Amani, Achmea and Rojo Consultancy, we are proud to announce that the first version of the Amani Child Case Management System (CCMS) is now live! This is an important and special milestone for all stakeholders involved, especially the children of Amani.
The first version of the Rojo-Amani Child Case Management System is now LIVE (!!) in Amani Centre for Street Children in Tanzania — and we couldn’t be more excited!
– Meindert Schaap, Executive Director at Amani
The charity, Amani Centre for Street Children rescues children from the streets of Tanzania, and the number has been growing exponentially over the years – now with more than 150 children per year.
Unfortunately, too many children have to take care of themselves in Tanzania. Some as young as six years old are homeless and alone. Amani aims to reunite these children with their relatives when possible. They equip the families so they’re self-sustainable. And if a reunion is not possible, Amani helps the kids with shelter and education and ensure they’re reintegrated in society.
They continue supporting these children in the long-term. As a result, at the moment there are more than 800 children in their care. Amani attends to about 250 children who are still on the streets, offering a temporary safe shelter to about 180, supporting more than 400 former street children in their education, in one of their four residential centres, and following up on more than 300 children who they successfully reunited with their families.
Initially, Amani primarily managed its administration using spreadsheets. Meindert Schaap, the Executive Director at Amani, says “Imagine following up on each child through 5 different paper case files (per child!) and dozens of improvised Excel spreadsheets… That was the nightmare we have lived for the past 15 years”. He mentions that previously when Amani had only one location and was working with 150 children, the spreadsheets approach was manageable however now that Amani has four locations and more children in their care, they needed a better solution.
The challenge lay in creating a system for Amani to efficiently manage the administrative aspects of the children under its care. This involved incorporating staff members providing guidance, as well as maintaining information on the designated contacts or family members associated with each child. Additionally, the system needed to accurately track the evolving ‘living status’ of each child over time.
In crafting the solution, Rojo recommended building the CCMS system utilizing the Microsoft Power platform in combination with the SharePoint Online platform and Power BI. Amani needed an easy-to-use case management system; until today they have been using paper forms which were not digitalized structurally making it difficult to generate reports or have overviews. They needed the case management system to keep track of the children, to plan and follow-up on appointments and for reporting. One important requirement was offline availability as the network connection is poor at times.
The CCMS application built by Rojo for Amani Kids consists of three components all offered by Microsoft to reach a cost-effective and consistent end-product:
- Power Apps: to add and edit information in the database (SharePoint).
- SharePoint Online Lists: database containing the data for the different tables.
- Power BI Report: to view enriched data reports and to set up alerts for events.
The application on Microsoft Power Apps ensures no data is lost even when there isn’t an internet connection. This is a crucial feature given the fact that uninterrupted connection is not possible in Tanzania as previously mentioned. SharePoint online acts as the main database and in case there is no connection the information is saved on Power Apps until there’s connection and data are saved to SharePoint Online successfully. And lastly, Power BI provides detailed reports aided by visuals as well as giving Amani the option to filter and generate reports for specific criteria.
The breakthrough occurred at the beginning of 2023 when a new team member, Mohammed volunteered with Amani. Having completed an IT study in Canada, he returned to Tanzania, bringing his brilliant IT skills. Mohammed proved instrumental in implementing the missing components of CCMS and making necessary modifications after Amani staff’s initial exposure to the system. Many requirements, as is often the case, only become apparent towards the end of a project.
“At the end of 2019, I approached Achmea Foundation to undertake an assignment for Amani Children’s Home in Tanzania. What was initially intended as a short-term assignment for one or two weeks has evolved into a full-fledged project, reaching its first significant milestone this coming Monday with the GO LIVE of our Child Case Management System – CCMS.”
– Nico Heijnen, Achmea
We are now live with approximately 350 children, 28 staff members, and over 500 relationships between staff members and children, along with 350 connections between children and family members within the system. The system is equipped with features such as role separation, bug reporting capabilities, automated processes for data updates, and the option to load data into the system from a spreadsheet. The system’s implementation marks a significant milestone for Amani, though it comes with a slight cultural shift, particularly as many staff members have limited experience with laptop usage.
With the new Database and Reporting System, Amani is able to drastically improve the impact and efficiency of their work. Meindert says that with the new system they are able to measure the change we make in these children’s lives and he continues “The improvements that are made possible by Rojo’s tailor-made software package will save many (street) children’s lives and help offer them much better futures. Starting January 1st, 2024, all our street outreach workers, family reintegration workers, psychological counsellors, and teachers will now fully use this powerful new tool across all three locations of our Amani organization. This will be a total game-changer, and will make us so much more professional and effective in helping these so-deserving children”
For us, this project holds a special place as since the beginning of Rojo our social responsibility mainly focused on helping children in need and providing them with the chance to shine.
The managing partner of Rojo, Roberto Viana speaks for us all when he says: “What started as a simple developers’ challenge at Rojo in Breukelen has turned into an innovative technology solution with the main goal of helping Amani achieve its noble mission of helping vulnerable children from the dangers of living abandoned on the streets. Let us keep working together towards a brighter future for the children in need. This remarkable achievement is a beacon of hope that will bring about positive change and inspire more people to do good for each other.”
Currently, we are in the process of developing the next version of CCMS, wherein we plan to integrate modules for tracking and managing the ‘educational status’ and ‘health status’ of the children over time. Additionally, our roadmap includes the incorporation of dashboards and reports, the introduction of gamification elements to encourage and enhance system usage, the integration of AI for personalized recommendations on suitable professions based on a child’s interests, and the implementation of ‘multi-language options,’ enabling the system to be used in Swahili, French, Spanish, and more.
Looking forward, our ultimate goal is to evolve CCMS into a white-label version, customizable for use by NGOs undertaking similarly impactful work as Amani. This initiative aims to extend the benefits of our success to a broader community of organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children.
You can learn more about the activities of Amani Kids here.