Studies, Reviews and Research

Assessment and Evaluation of Psychosocial Programming for Crisis-Affected Children: A good practice initiative

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UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund

In recent years, the devastating consequences of crises across the globe have engendered enormous interest in the psychosocial effects of complex emergencies on children, families and communities. Many humanitarian aid and relief organizations have developed projects to address these issues. Though the need for such interventions may be clear, however, the field is characterized by a lack of consensus on goals, strategies and best practice for supporting young people. In particular, definitions of psychosocial wellbeing and the principles that should guide related assessments and program implementation and evaluation remain a focus of considerable debate. Recognizing this diversity of conceptual approaches, five humanitarian agencies and five academic institutions established the Psychosocial Working Group (PWG) in 2000 to address debates about the psychosocial impacts of complex emergencies on crisis-affected populations globally. 

This paper reviews existing concepts, methods and tools used by UN agencies, humanitarian organizations and academic researchers for assessing children’s psychosocial wellbeing and evaluating subsequent interventions. It highlights examples of best practice and makes recommendations regarding some basic principles and minimum standards for working with children. It is designed to promote sharing of lessons learned and a cross-fertilization of assessment and evaluation strategies. This paper should be considered a “working document” insofar as its dissemination among colleagues in the field and at headquarters will provide critical review and further input from a variety of disciplines, cultural settings and regional perspectives.


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