Millions of refugee children have shelter - but their need to play and connect is key

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Driving research behind TeamUp

Research Lead
“Robust interventions to meet the psychosocial needs of refugee children worldwide are urgently required. TeamUp meets this need by drawing on academic evidence and lessons learned from implementation. The programme is implemented according to a set of minimum standards that can be readily contextualised - allowing for rapid scale-up anywhere children are in need.”

Frank Velthuizen, Programme Director TeamUp

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Children escaping violence and armed conflict are exposed to sources of stress - both during and after their journeys to safety. These stresses pose significant long-term risks to their mental health and healthy development. Robust interventions to meet the psychosocial needs of these children - that promote stability and positive social interaction - are urgently required. TeamUp is designed to meet this need.

Boosting child wellbeing



Designed for scale up

TeamUp is made up of a series of play and movement activities implemented by trained facilitators. Each activity has a specific goal related to psychosocial themes such as dealing with anger, stress and interacting with peers. The various activities support the psychosocial wellbeing and resilience of children. The methodology can be readily contextualised - with scaling supported by the TeamUp Global Expertise Centre.


Robust and evidence-based

The TeamUp methodology has been monitored and evaluated since the programme's inception to uphold and guarantee quality and relevance. Lessons learned from implementation and evaluation - together with a literature review - contributed to the creation of a robust Theory of Change. This Theory of Change defines the anticipated outcomes for children participating in TeamUp. Further research will examine whether these outcomes are realised.

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Download the Theory of Change here.

Key evidence

Ensuring quality

A process evaluation to measure the quality of implementation and gain insights into how children and facilitators perceive the outcomes of TeamUp was conducted between September 2018 and September 2019. The findings are currently under review.

A separate evaluation of TeamUp at School found that children enjoyed improved psychosocial wellbeing through participating in the programme.

In practice

Emergency Response

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Our team has developed a streamlined ‘TeamUp at Home’ activity book - a collection of movement exercises for children to take part in at home with their siblings. The collection of exercises - available in 17 languages - is designed to uphold the wellbeing of children living in lockdown against negative pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Download here


The TeamUp Coalition

TeamUp was launched as a coalition made up of War Child Holland, Save the Children and UNICEF Netherlands- - in collaboration with the Dutch Central Body for sheltering Asylum Seekers (COA). The bespoke TeamUp at School programme was developed together with the CED group.
The international rollout of the programme has seen SOS Children’s Villages join as an implementing partner.





TeamUp is currently active in five territories

TeamUp is preparing to roll out in Sweden, Italy, Greece, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia/Somaliland, Burundi and Nigeria. A scaling strategy is in place with the ambition to reach one million children by 2025.

Next steps

Our research agenda

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Research will be undertaken to fuel the continued global scale up of the TeamUp programme - based on the research agenda outlined in our Scaling Strategy.

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Inside our Expertise Hub

Frank Velthuizen is the programme director of TeamUp. From 2005 to 2013 Frank worked for War Child in Uganda, Afghanistan and Sudan. He joined TeamUp in 2019 from Plan International, where he worked to increase the inclusion of children with a disability in development and humanitarian aid.