Research and Development

War Child works exclusively to improve the lives of children affected by armed conflict. We support children in 14 countries through wide-ranging programmes that combine psychosocial support, protection and education for maximum impact. 

Millions of children worldwide are forced to live with the effects of war - effects including depression, anxiety and neglect. Every War Child programme has the ultimate goal of boosting the strength and resilience of conflict-affected children - and Research and Development plays a vital role in ensuring our efforts are effective.  

R&D at War Child

Research and Development (R&D) is a key driver of War Child’s ambition to become the Networked Expert Organisation in the field of improving the psychosocial wellbeing of children and youth affected by armed conflict. This ambition will see us reach one million children directly each year through our own programmes - and millions more through scientific and humanitarian networks.

The War Child R&D agenda will see the creation of an integrated care and support system across all levels of a child’s life. This Care System will see the development of scientifically tested and evidence-based interventions and tools to guarantee the highest standards of quality.


The R&D agenda is designed to ensure the provision and increased scale of quality care and support to conflict-affected children around the world - both by ourselves and through our network of partner organisations.

These efforts will contribute to ensuring the increased resilience and improved psychosocial wellbeing of conflict-affected children. Our approach will also help to establish protective and supportive communities that respect the rights of children.

Theory of Change

War Child has developed a Theory of Change (ToC) which guides the development and implementation of our Care System inside our countries of operation. The ToC helps us to identify the changes we want to bring about and examine how (and why) they are expected to occur within a particular context.

The ToC outlines a number of pre-conditions that must be in place to ensure we can achieve our desired impact - to boost the strength and resilience of children forced to live with the effects of war. These pre-conditions include a reduction of distress among children; that children are adequately protected; and that children have improved academic, social and emotional learning outcomes.


Our interventions are designed to contribute towards these pre-conditions. Progress is measured through indicators attached to each of these outcomes - example indicators include ‘improved wellbeing’, ‘perceived safety’ and ‘reduced distress’.

The ToC process forms the basis for shaping the development, implementation and evaluation of each War Child intervention - and serves as the framework of our R&D agenda.    

Working in Networks

Our R&D agenda sees us collaborate with academic and humanitarian organisations across the world to ensure our work has maximum impact. War Child is a leading member of the STRENGTHS consortium which sees fifteen leading organisations come together to develop new approaches to tackle the mental health issues experienced by refugees.

War Child was also the recipient of the prestigious Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize in 2017 for our work to strengthen the psychosocial wellbeing of conflict-affected children.