Children and war foundation
The Children and War Foundation (CAW) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving children’s lives after wars and disasters.
When disasters and war strike, so many children are affected. CAW has developed methods which enable us to reach out to large groups of children by helping them cope with their fear and trauma.
CAW has developed methods and measures which enable us to reach out to large groups of children psychologically affected by trauma.
Our evidence-based tools, i.a. the manuals and questionnaires, have demonstrated their value and effectiveness across diverse cultures and situations. Our world is all too frequently no place to be a child. Wars and disasters can disrupt and ruin their lives both in the present and in the future.
We provide questionnaires that make it easy to identify high risk children after a traumatic event. Secondly, the Teaching Recovery Manual (TRT) is a widely used method for reducing the psychological after- effects of war or disasters. To mention some examples, TRT has proven to be very effective in reducing the effects of trauma following natural disasters such as earthquakes in Greece, Turkey, China and Iran, after the tsunami in SouthEast Asia, and in relation to conflicts in Africa, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Syria and Iraq. Using the manual, children’s groups can be led by teachers or other trained personnel. It does not require highly trained mental health professionals who are often unavailable in large-scale situations.
Children are increasingly the victims of war and war-like events. Bombing and shelling, killings, and terrorist acts affect hundreds of thousands of children each year. Many children have fled these situations, and experience further danger as part of fleeing. As the number of affected children has risen over the years, professionals who work with children in war zones have sought new ways to help them. It is now recognised that early help for children in how to cope with the stresses of war and being a refugee can be beneficial and may prevent later problems from developing.
When whole countries and communities are affected, it is often a priority to provide assistance for large numbers of children as quickly as possible. Our aim is to do just that. Our manuals are the result of years of direct experience of working with child survivors of war and disaster, their teachers and carers, in diverse cultures and across many faiths. It is designed to help you teach children in a step by step practical way skills and techniques which are helpful in coping with the psychological effects of disastrous events. It is intended for use by teachers, youth workers, pedagogues, psychologists, counsellors, community leaders or other childcare professionals, after some preliminary training. This is not a treatment manual but is designed to prevent the need for later treatment. Children who have learned and practised the techniques contained here will be less likely to need specialist treatment in the future. Nevertheless, some severely affected children will continue to need further help.
Our methods have proven very effective in reducing the effects of trauma following natural disasters such as earthquakes in Greece, Turkey, China and Iran, after the tsunami in SouthEast Asia, and in relation to conflicts in Africa, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Syria and Iraq to mention some.
We have also developed questionnaires that make it easy to identify high risk children soon after a traumatic event and measure the effect of the intervention. These measures are available for free.
Caw is administered by devoted professionals without fee, so we do not have to spend any of our resources on administration
Supported by Grieg Foundation
Grieg Foundation is an essential contributor to the work of CAW. Through a cooperation agreement entered into in 2021, with the aim of building local capacity to help children cope with psychological trauma, Grieg Foundation secured the funding of NOK 1 000 000 for a two year period. This has enabled CAW to respond to the traumas caused by the war in Ukraine, cascading the knowledge and use of TRT both within Ukraine but also in the countries receiving the refugees from Ukraine. CAW has also been able to perform trainings of significant importance in Bangladesh, in Syria, Lebanon and other arabic speaking mental health and psychosocial workers located in war zones and refugee locations, having the TRT manual translated into Bangla, Ukrainian, Polish, Arabic, and started an important research project in Palestine for the effect of the grief manual.
The overall aim of the common project between Grieg Foundation and CAW is to build local capacity to help children cope with psychological trauma to contribute to reducing the treatment gap and to contribute to children’s rights being fulfilled. The project enables CAW to help translate psychological research based knowledge into action in low-resource settings by building capacity. This project enables Children and War Foundation to train helpers in the use of an evidence based manualized group intervention to which has been found to improve psychosocial wellbeing, which is also important for education.
This project will enable CAW to expand and respond to more requests for capacity building for helpers, both professional and non-professional. These helpers, teachers, carers and others will be able to help children so that get better mental health and coping skills, within the frame of their regular work, whether this is school, home, health services or other. The outcome of the project will be children’s improved mental health. We estimate that each training will benefit at least 150 children, but as the helpers acquire skills they will continue to use, the number should be higher. Thus, if the project enables CAW to do 10 trainings, the direct beneficiaries should be at least 1500, but is likely to be substantially higher.
As CAW has a long tradition of evaluating all activities, and also engaging in high quality research, the current project should also add to the knowledge base on how best to support children under different conditions.