Background: With the need to reduce inequalities and protect the wellbeing of children, the Office of the Head of Local Government Service, and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in partnership with UNICEF, sought to establish a functioning welfare system to protect children and vulnerable populations from harm. To strengthen the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development (DSW/CD) in performing their responsibilities in a systemic and well-coordinated manner, a formal referral and case management system was required at the district level.
Solution: In designing the referral system, Bewsys collected the data of all social welfare protection agencies from different key stakeholders across health, police, judiciary, and social protection systems. Social protection services were classified into: health, social protection, child protection, sexual and gender-based violence, mental health, and psychosocial support. The referral system was designed to feature all district-level social welfare services mapped throughout the country, and a referral pathway for each category of vulnerable children. (i.e. poor children, children without parental care, survivors of child trafficking, and gender-based violence). Strategies that require low effort and low-cost methods to make the directory available to social workers in low-resource settings were considered in the system design and development.
Impact: Information about social welfare services and agencies in all the 322 districts across all the regions in Ghana are available in the directory deployed by Bewsys. The district referral system has supported the processes involved in addressing the wide gap between the number of children in need of social protection services and the limited number of social workers.The system continues to support the government of Ghana and social protection agencies to progress in preventing sexual and gender-based violence, protect the well-being of vulnerable populations and achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially good health and wellbeing, ending poverty, and reducing inequalities.