The Children's Resilience Programme: Psychosocial support in and out of schools

The Children’s Resilience Programme: Psychosocial support in and out of school was developed in 2010 by Save the Children Denmark and the Psychosocial Centre of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The programme is a nonclinical psychosocial and protection methodology that focuses on children’s positive coping and resilience. The Child Resilience Programme comprises 8-16 structured workshops for children 10-16 years old. The same 1-2 facilitators conduct the activities once or twice a week, for the same group of children. The programme can be implemented for children in and out of school, e.g. during or after disasters, in situations of armed conflict, for children affected by HIV, or as part of preventative social work.

The objectives of the workshops are to:

  • Improve cooperation and peaceful interaction between children.
  • Improving the motivation to play, problem solving and positive attitude to others.
  • Enhance positive expectations to the future.
  • Enhance impulse control (in relation to aggressive behaviour and/or risk taking behaviour.
  • Enhance capacity and awareness about self-protection and protection of peers.

The programme uses techniques, which have been proven effective in building the resilience of children, creating a Fun, Safe and Inclusive environment conducive for this purpose.

A critical component of the programme design is that it works at multiple levels – with children, their caregivers and communities. The programme includes caregivers’ meetings, which build their skills and understanding of child wellbeing and protection. Alongside this, activities are undertaken to reduce risks and strengthen protective factors within the community, including strengthening the community referral mechanisms. The programme can also be linked with additional community activities, such as children’s clubs, child protection committees, advocacy initiatives or other community forums.

To date, Save the children has implemented the programme in 16 countries in a variety of contexts, including development and humanitarian settings as well as low, middle- and high-income countries: Haiti, OPT, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, CAR, Guinea, China, Bangladesh, Denmark.

A resource kit has been developed to provide guidance for designing and implementing the Children’s Resilience Programme:

  • The booklet Understanding Children’s Wellbeing provides an introduction to psychosocial support, child protection and children’s reactions to difficult events. It is written for the people likely to be involved in a Children’s Resilience Programme, including programme managers, field coordinators and facilitators, volunteers, teachers, parents and caregivers.
  • The Programme manager’s handbook guides programme managers on how to plan, implement and evaluate Children’s Resilience Programmes.
  • The Facilitator handbook 1: Getting Started consists of an introduction to the Children’s Resilience Programme, the first 5 workshops for the children, three additional workshops and two options to use to end a workshop track, as well as the guide for meetings with parents and caregivers.
  • The Facilitator handbook 2: Workshop tracks consists of four workshop tracks that are concerned with Protection against abuse and exploitation, Children affected by armed conflict, Children affected by disaster and Children affected by HIV or AIDS. Each track consists of a number of structured workshops linked to the specific theme. 

Most of the materials can be used as stand-alone resources but as a full set, they enable a good understanding of how to implement the Children’s Resilience Programme.

Additional resources are also available: Facilitator TrainingOverview of Workshops, and Worksheets.

Published 2016-05-10

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