The Republic of Maldives is an archipelago of around 1200 coral islands stretching 500 miles across the Indian Ocean. Of these, around 200 islands are inhabited and a further 80 have been developed as tourist resorts. In complete contrast to the rest f the country, the capital island, Male’ is 2 square kilometres in area and home to one third of the country’s population of around 270,000 along with a further 40,000 immigrant workers, making it one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Half of the population are under 18 years of age.
Maldives is experiencing rapid change and development. The traditional culture of Maldivian life is being influenced by many factors that are competing to reshape and influence the future of the people. Child Abuse is a national issue that has been identified as needing attention and solutions. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was signed by the Maldivian government in August 1990. Since that time much effort has been put into improving the lives of children and young people in Maldives
A situation analysis that took place between 2000 and 2005, focussing on 10 of the 20 administrative Atolls and highlighted a number of problems relating to Child Protection. There is no co-ordinated method of collecting national or regional data regarding Child Abuse, Juvenile Delinquency or Domestic Violence. The Agencies involved have developed their own classification and codes that make any analysis difficult to extrapolate and this is hampering the development of strategic plans to combat the problems facing the country.
In August 2007, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, commissioned Illuminaries to carry out a scoping exercise to write a Concept Paper and Systems Requirement Specification for a national, multi-agency Child Protection Database that will capture details of reporting and follow up of cases of Child Abuse, Juvenile Delinquency and Gender Based Violence (Domestic Violence).
The project involved two missions to Maldives, where Illuminaries director Dr Tony Bennett and child protection specialist Jim O’Rourke met with government agencies on Male’ and the inhabited islands, to learn how they work collaboratively on child protection cases. Supported by the Family and Child Protection Unit of the Maldives Police Service, Tony and Jim made a detailed requirements capture and analysis of the work of the key stakeholder agencies including the Police, Gender Ministry (who provide social services), Attorney General’s office, Ministries of Justice, Health and Education and the Departments of Public Health, National Registration and Rehabilitation & Penitentiary Services. Information was gathered through meetings with individual agencies, the CPD steering committee and a one day workshop at Bandos Island facilitated by Illuminaries.
Tony Bennett notes, "This is a truly ambitious project scheduled to be fully delivered by the end of 2010. This initial phase has been progressed on a very tight timescale. Our solution focuses on enabling communication and information sharing between agency case workers. The key features of the design are referral and case management, case relationships, outcomes, case worker activities, document management, messaging and audit trails. In addition to recording outcomes, the data model is designed to collect scores on a wide range of indicators. Reports from the database will provide government agencies with comprehensive and accurate information for strategic planning and quantifiable evidence of the country’s progress towards supporting the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child."
In 2009, Illuminaries was awarded the contract to build the Maldives Child Protection Database.