Our Annual Report: Accelerating Our Response to the Mental Health Crisis

June 3, 2020

Girl Uganda with teddy bear in hands looking into the camera - War Child projects
A record 149 million children and young people worldwide live with the direct effects of violence and armed conflict. The vast majority of them - an estimated 84 million children - experience significant psychological problems as a result of their exposure to this violent instability. Yet an estimated 95 per cent of these children receive no mental health support at all - due in part to a critical absence of humanitarian funding. We worked to bridge the gap in 2019 - and these efforts are laid out in our new Annual Report.

War Child works around the world to protect and uphold the wellbeing of the generation of children and youth affected by this silent - and growing - mental health crisis. We expanded and intensified our work in several areas during 2019 - and more children in more countries took part in more interventions than ever before. These efforts are outlined in our new Annual Report.

War Child in 2019

War Child met the urgent needs of 267,754 children and adults over the course of 2019. We delivered vital education and psychosocial support among vulnerable and underserved communities in 17 countries. We worked to strengthen support structures to help protect children and youth against harm and abuse. We continued to develop new interventions to meet urgent emerging challenges.

Our innovative game-driven education programme Can’t Wait to Learn expanded to two new countries - to deliver quality education to increasing numbers of children. New interventions were developed and tested inside our countries of operation - to address exclusion, stigmatisation and the wellbeing of parents and caregivers.

War Child Can't Wait to Learn in Jordan - children education on tablets

Children in Jordan receive vital education through our game-driven education programme Can't Wait to Learn

Photo: Hussein Al Amoudi

We accelerated our work to safeguard the legal rights of children in the occupied Palestinian territory - rights which came under increasingly violent assault in the wake of protests at Gaza’s border. We provided social and emotional support to Venezuelan refugee children in Colombia through the TeamUp programme. We delivered vital catch-up education to Syrian refugee children across the Middle East.

Our #DrawTheLine petition raised awareness on behalf of millions of children deprived of their fundamental rights - and was presented to Princess Mabel and Dutch development minister Sigrid Kaag. We worked to place psychosocial support - and the critical absence of available funding - at the heart of the global humanitarian agenda during the Amsterdam International Conference on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Crisis Situations.

These represent just a few of our achievements. Find out in full how we scaled up, improved and adapted our work in 2019.

War Child supports families in Jordan refugee camps

Mother Halan and daughter Yasmine in Za'atari, the world's largest refugee camp for Syrian families in Jordan

War Child helps children in South Sudan combat coronavirus

War Child is committed to raising awareness and distributing emergency care kits to prevent further spread of COVID-19

Photo: War Child

Meeting New Challenges in 2020

The needs of conflict-affected children and youth - needs growing in scale and complexity - will only increase in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have already adapted our activities to help shield children and communities against the worst effects of the pandemic - and will intensify these efforts in months to come.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has served to make our mission to uphold children’s safety and wellbeing more important than ever,” says War Child managing director Tjipke Bergsma. “Children already exposed to the horrors of violence and armed conflict now face a new threat to their wellbeing.”

"That’s why we are not only meeting urgent needs through the direct delivery of food and hygiene supplies in partnership with local organisations - we’re also providing increased social and emotional support to children living in quarantine and isolation. And we will continue to accelerate our response even further."

““Our efforts during this emergency aim to ensure we leave no child behind."
War Child managing director Tjipke Bergsma