Coronavirus: Liveblog (May)

29 May 2020:
Expert Steps to Uphold the Wellbeing of Vulnerable Populations

The devastating physical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is all too apparent. Yet the global mental health crisis emerging in the wake of the pandemic - and its effects on vulnerable children and their families - has so far received little attention.

As part of #MindsUnitedforMentalHealth we brought together a panel of experts to explore potential actions to address this silent mental health crisis. We share their ten findings here...

Thumbnail_General_MHPSS_thought leaders_War Child

28 May 2020:
TeamUp Resumes in AZC Balk

TeamUp - the coalition programme in support of refugee children living in asylum reception centres (AZCs) in the Netherlands and beyond - continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. War Child - together with Save the Children and UNICEF Netherlands - has adapted the programme of structured movement-based activities to meet the demands imposed by the current lockdown restrictions.

Activities have already resumed in 19 ‘newcomer’ schools as part of the TeamUp at School programme. Regular TeamUp activities will soon restart in 25 asylum reception centres across the Netherlands - and three of our volunteer facilitators in AZC Balk have already resumed activities with the guidance of staff coordinators.

Watch the video dispatch from TeamUp facilitator Abdulkader as he describes how the first session went…

25 May 2020:
Filling the Gaps to Include the Most Vulnerable in Jordan

In Jordan measures to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic have been decisive. These restrictions have had severe and immediate impacts on vulnerable refugee and host communities in underserved and hard to reach areas of the country.

Our team in Jordan is working to fill service gaps and meet urgent needs. Take a closer look inside our country operation here:

Corona crisis response uitdelen van noodhulppakketten

20 May 2020:
'Psychological First Aid' videos in Lebanon

In Lebanon we are adapting our activities to uphold the wellbeing of children and young people living with the effects of isolation. With extensive lockdown restrictions in place, we are using remote methods - such as videos and SMS messages - to deliver psychosocial support and maintain vital child protection services.

As part of our coronavirus response programme we are reaching out to vulnerable young people with brief video messages to maintain their wellbeing. Each video draws on the principles of ‘Psychological First Aid’ to provide young people with coping strategies they can draw on whenever they experience distress. The videos also feature the numbers of helplines - to increase the opportunity for young people to be referred to professional services if required.

Support our work in Lebanon - and donate to our emergency Start-Up Fund.

18 May 2020:
TeamUp at Home Activity Book Launches Worldwide

Millions of children - already struggling with the effects of violence and armed conflict - currently can’t go to school. This situation sees children increasingly forced to deal with feelings of stress, fear and insecurity - feelings they often don’t know how to deal with.

That’s why we have adapted our activities to support children living with increased pressure in lockdown - through the TeamUp at Home activity book.

The TeamUp at Home activity book in sixteen languages is available to download here - and can be used together with our TeamUp at Home videos. The activity book will be distributed in ten countries though our partners Save the Children, UNICEF Netherlands and SOS Children’s Villages. The book is designed for use in various situations - from refugee camps and informal settlements to asylum reception centres.

Each activity is presented in illustrated format - to ensure that children at all learning stages can understand and take part in the games. The activities have also been adapted to support children with physical disabilities to take part. The books will be distributed directly to houses, community centres and safe spaces - to ensure that we leave no child behind.

13 May 2020:
Using the Power of Stories to Uphold Psychosocial Wellbeing

War Child continues to adapt its support for children living under restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. We are working to maintain the social and emotional wellbeing of children as they experience the negative effects of isolation - using remote methods to provide psychosocial care and support.

Stories are a powerful tool to both stimulate children and generate positive emotions - which is why we’ve teamed up with children’s author Molly Watts to use the power of storytelling in our coronavirus response.

Molly’s story ‘Dave the Dog is Worried about coronavirus’ is designed to keep children engaged - and provide clear, reliable information to shield children against infection.

War Child has funded the translation of the story into seven languages to make it more accessible - and is distributing the storybook directly to children’s homes as part of our Child Care Kits.

Children in several of our countries of operation are currently enjoying Dave the Dog’s adventures - all part of our efforts to ensure that we leave no child behind during the current pandemic.

You can download ‘Dave the Dog is Worried about coronavirus’ on our Download Resources page.

12 May 2020:
South Sudan COVID-19 Response Reaches 65,000 People

South Sudan is facing a systems collapse in the wake of the #coronavirus pandemic - as the already fragile humanitarian, environmental and political situation inside the country continues to deteriorate.

War Child is active inside the world’s youngest nation through an emergency response in the states of Upper Nile, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria. We have already reached 65,000 children and their communities through our response activities. Find out more about our work to meet urgent child protection and psychosocial support needs…

Girl with Child Care Kit and visit in South Sudan_War Child_2005XX.jpg

11 May 2020:
TeamUp at School Resumes Today

TeamUp at School - our programme in support of refugee children at reception and newcomer schools - resumes today. We placed our activities on hold following the outbreak of the coronavirus - but with schools across the Netherlands now reopening, we are resuming activities in 19 locations.

We have also adapted the programme to meet the demands of current coronavirus restrictions. Where teachers previously put their own sessions together, TeamUp at School now comes with ready-made 'Start’ sessions.

The adapted activities will focus on the themes of cooperation and friendship - supporting children who are returning to school and have not seen each other for several weeks.

Other programme activities focus on supporting children to better deal with feelings of fear, anger and stress - feelings that have intensified during the recent period of isolation.

TeamUp at School was launched in 2017, at first as a pilot in seven schools with our partners CED Group.

08 May 2020:
Meeting Vital Needs under the Lebanon COVID-19 Lockdown

War Child is working in Lebanon to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children and families living under the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Yet our efforts can fall short unless we first ensure that basic needs are met - which is why we are working with local youth volunteers to distribute food packages to the most vulnerable families.

Take a look inside our distribution operation here...

Libanese jongeren helpen bij het distrbueren van voedselpakketten

04 May 2020:
Supporting children in Uganda to continue learning

In line with our Covid-19 Programme Response in Uganda we joined forces with four leading NGOs in Uganda to provide continued learning opportunities and psychosocial support to over 60,000 children during the coronavirus pandemic. Children from both refugee and host communities will be able to continue to learn through a number of new initiatives - including an adapted version of the tablet-based Can’t Wait to Learn programme…

Children  in school learning on tablets in Oeganda

01 May 2020:
Upholding R&D in the COVID-19 Lockdown

Research and Development (R&D) is a key driver of our efforts to meet the complex and changing needs of conflict-affected children. The #coronavirus pandemic has posed a significant challenge to our R&D activities - with our field trials requiring rapid modifications in the wake of widespread lockdown restrictions in our countries of operation.

The Caregiver Support Intervention (CSI) is a key component of our research agenda - a programme designed to reduce stress and improve wellbeing among parents and other caregivers. Data collection in support of this intervention was temporarily shelved - until our senior researcher Dr Ken Miller and his team in Lebanon devised a new method to capture critical data during Lebanon's lockdown.

Working from their homes and spread out across four countries, the 17 person team was able to collect data from 94% of the 240 caregivers in this phase of the study - all by telephone.

Find out more about our adaptations to the Caregiver Support Intervention in our research overview.

Dr Miller and researcher Alexandra Chen share their experiences with leading medical journal The Lancet in a new podcast.

Further information is available in a special Lancet Correspondence feature.

Moeder met haar dochter in een vluchtelingenkamp_oorlog_War Child

#LeaveNoChildBehind

War Child is continuing its support for children and families in all our countries of operation as the coronavirus pandemic expands. Our efforts during this emergency aim to ensure no child is left behind.

  • We are working to protect communities against the spread of COVID-19 through public health campaigns
  • We are supporting local organisations to maintain life-sustaining resources - including water and sanitation
  • We are also developing remote child protection, education and psychosocial support for children and caregivers living with the effects of isolation