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Improving access to services through efficient and accountable referral pathways

The Referral Information Management System (RIMS) was developed by DRC in 2017 to provide a common platform to facilitate, manage and follow up on referrals in an effective, user-friendly and secure way.

Initially, RIMS was created as an internal tool to link various DRC programs through referrals. In 2017, DRC received ECHO funding to pilot RIMS with five other organisations and expand RIMS beyond DRC. As a result, RIMS became a common referral platform that is accessible to other external organizations, and now counts more than 110 local and international partners, working across all sectors and areas of Lebanon.

RIMS Strategic Vision

“Improve and influence the humanitarian response in Lebanon through effective and accountable referral pathways.“

RIMS Objectives

The overall objective of RIMS is to ensure that persons of concern have safe, timely and adequate access to services through more efficient and accountable referral pathways. This can be achieved by:

  • Strengthening referral pathways across sectors and humanitarian agencies for stronger, more efficient and institutionalized referral pathways;
  • Encouraging and facilitating cross-sector referrals for a holistic, multi-sector response to people’s needs;
  • Producing evidence-based analysis of needs, gaps and bottlenecks in referral pathways, which will inform recommendations and advocacy efforts to improve referral pathways and coordination of the response.

RIMS Development Journey

As Lebanon is affected by multiple crises, with increasingly high needs across all communities, and the humanitarian operational environment is challenging, efficient multi-sector service provision is key to adequately and comprehensively meet the needs of vulnerable population and refugees in Lebanon. Referrals are an essential step in fulfilling beneficiaries’ needs because they connect service providers together, and individuals in need with the appropriate assistance or service in a timely manner.

DRC identified the lack of a unified referral platform bringing together all sectors and organisations as a major obstacle to a coordinated and efficient approach to multi-sector service provision, and to ensuring safe, timely, adequate and accountable access to services for persons of concern.

RIMS was developed in response to several identified gaps and challenges in the coordination of the humanitarian response in Lebanon, particularly when it comes to referrals.

These include: the lack of a common platform to send/receive/track referrals across sectors, the lack of established and formalized referral pathways between sectors and agencies, limited knowledge of each other’s services and eligibility criteria; an irregularly updated Service Mapping; lack of knowledge of Safe Identification and Referrals (SIR) principles beyond the Protection sector; lack of oversight and monitoring of referrals within organisations; and lack of analysis on the quality of referrals, and therefore inability to identify gaps in referrals and improve.