The Child Security Index (CSI), developed in Brazil by the Igarapé Institute, is an open source smart phone app that maps out children’s voices and their perceptions of everyday violence. In 2014, it is being tested in Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. It is focused on collecting data on the security or insecurity of 8-12 year-old children and their 13-17 year-old "proxy informant" adolescents, as well as adult caregivers and educators.

Communication Strategies: 

The CSI is a tool intended to generate new data, analysis, and visual representations of "real and perceived security in violent low-income settings of Brazil and the US [United States]." It is being piloted in the US by Cure Violence in the cities of Chicago, New York, New Orleans by trained "enumerators" who take mini-surveys through questioning children and youth and enter the data in mobile phones. Though currently a fieldworker-led app, it is designed for ownership and application by communities for notification and information collection on outbreaks of violence.


The CSI is an app based on open data kit (ODK) that tracks the experience of children and youth in violence-affected areas. Through a "basket of ...selected indicators," the psychological, emotional, and physical impacts of insecurity on children are translated into 30 perception-based statements with which children can indicate agreement or disagreement, allowing a score to be tallied, along with a geo-location, for a mobile digital survey. Thus, it allows for the documentation of spatial and temporal trends in the home, school, and community. Data generated by the app is uploaded to an interactive administrative dashboard.


By highlighting the children's specific experiences and feeding them into national and global campaigns to raise awareness about violence against children, the tool can increase the evidence base for advocacy and planning for children's safety.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

The CSI prototype is being tested in cities across Brazil as part of multi-year project supported by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation (2013-2016).

Partner Text: 

Bernard Van Leer Foundation, Promundo (Rio de Janeiro), Shine-a-Light and the Federal University of Pernambuco (Recife), NECA (Associação dos Pesquisadores de Nucleos de Estudos e Pesquisas sobre Criança e o Adolescente)/UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund)/Instituto Indica, and Cure Violence (US), among others.


The Bernard van Leer Foundation website, May 14 2014, and email from Alice Watson to The Communication Initiative on May 16 2014.