Strengthening family systems
“The family system - or how individual family members relate to each other and how they handle outside stressors - impacts powerfully on children and adults. Our goal is to develop a programme that strengthens these systems, thus improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole family unit.”
Fatima Rawashedh, Family Intervention Researcher
- In humanitarian crises, family caregivers face complex stressors such as poverty, mental illness and increased violence in the community and at home.
- This often results in an inability to provide responsive and effective parenting, bearing heavily on children's mental health and wellbeing.
- Programmes working at the individual, child or parent level - while important - fail to address these complex family challenges.
Estimated per cent of people in low and middle income countries who do not have access to high quality mental health care. (source)
Through joint sessions with a trained non-specialist facilitator, the intervention sees family members develop problem-solving and conflict-management skills, learn how to regulate their emotions and support one another.
Nurturing Families considers the impact of both the broader family and the context in which they live. We take a whole-family approach to promote a shared understanding of individual challenges, strengths and goals.
- First, we engage with local community advisors
- Next, we study families’ challenges and needs and which interventions they prefer
- Then, we test our approach with a small number of families in selected countries
Without the support of partners and donors based all over the globe, the Nurturing Families intervention simply wouldn't exist.
These include the American University of Beirut, Collateral Repair Project, UNICEF Lebanon and a number of local community advisors.
We are currently piloting the programme in conflict-affected communities in the Al Hashmi area of Amman in Jordan.
We are also conducting a randomized controlled trial of our core-family focused module with partners in north Beqaa and the Tripoli region in Lebanon.
For more insight into the methods we will use to conduct the RCT in Lebanon, read this paper.
At the moment, we are conducting research among conflict-affected communities across Lebanon and Jordan including Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, Iraqi, and Palestinian families. The aim of this research is to see if our approach can be used to support 'at-risk' families facing multiple challenges.
Our research agenda
In the coming months, we will gather feedback from families, facilitators and other implementation teams - all with the aim to scale the intervention and reduce the need for costly specialist care.
Research and development
How we ensure our work with children is effective
The War Child Care System is made up of nine Core Interventions, developed to address the urgent needs of conflict-affected children and their communities. These interventions are supported by a number of tools and enabling trajectories that serve to promote access to care and a process of localisation.
Meet our Research and Development Team
Fatima hold master's degree in community health nursing. With a passion for improving the lives of individuals, families and communities, she is using her expertise to identify effective strategies that can be implemented to promote health and well-being and to making a positive impact on society.
Team members: Hind Yousef, Zeinab Mansour, Alexandra Bleile, Kawther Al Bitar, Hadeel Mansour, Bassel Meksassi, Rayane Ali, Joseph Elias, Mark Jordans