New paper on psychosocial intervention for disadvantaged youth in Kenya

This was Elijah at his finest (yet)! A tough project with no resources, yet such disproportionate impact. To start with, the high rates of youth mental health problems in a disadvantaged urban community of Kenya were disconcertingly high, even took us by surprise.

Elijah then adapted (see his earlier papers on stakeholder consultation), implemented and evaluated the feasibility of a first response intervention. As anticipated, there was promising reduction in post traumatic stress symptoms. What was more pleasing, albeit surprising, was the concurrent improvement in youth quality of life. This means that we can intervene at both levels, not just to decrease distress but to also enhance resilience – i.e. it is no longer “either or”.

A preview of the paper at:

New project on impact of yoga on youth mental wellbeing: Learning from the India masters!

Yoga has been a prominent tool, mind frame or strategy through recent challenging times across the world. So, when the opportunity came (actually before the pandemic) to partner with the real masters in evaluating interventions on youth mental wellbeing, I jumped at it. There are many schools and approaches these days, but starting in India is a real privilege and fulfilment.

It is a delight to partner with the Sri Sri Institute for Advanced Research, the research wing of the Art of Living Foundation. I love their mission, which is more pertinent than ever, i.e. “apply global ancient knowledge systems to the challenges of today”. To prove this, we will be using different designs, measures and processes, including digital modalities when we need to. What more though, what an exciting journey!

What have figs and WACIT got in common?

Well, nothing really – except that some of our partners are enjoying both at the moment. But learning about Figshare and its opportunities to enhance access as a data or document repository worth all my anxiety.

Now 5 WACIT films are available of joint work in Turkey, Kenya and Pakistan – plus a brief WACIT story and publications list to complement our website. Easy to access at:

Global admiration for the Samaritans work – starting from Brazil

I had to check the webinar report several times in case I’d misread it – 808 attendants for the webinar? And it was one of several organised by the Samaritans this week in Brazil. What was most refreshing was the adaptability and anticipation of the volunteers on responding to the acute and ongoing impact of the pandemic on young people.

Bringing agencies together was a very wise step – with the two Big Js in the centre – Juliana from ASEC and Joana from UNICEF.

Both the access to participants through digital technology and the coming together of services are surely lessons to keep after the crisis?

PS. I hope I did not offend other Brazilian fans with my Flamengo mug – after all, they are the Copa Libertadores holders?


WACIT filming, with a little help from Swahili music

The task is ominous – 5 years of WACIT life into roughly 5 minutes, and the film producer Hussain in Karachi is keeping an eye. How do you fit 14 countries, 1,200 training participants and 400 children into a coherent narrative? But also helpful in focusing where we are coming from and where we are heading to.

On good information, our partners are filming in different locations – no masks and no C19 reminders, this will be a classic! With some local disloyalty, I thought there are worse places to start with than sunny London.

Only one musical clue from Elijah and Kenya, because we all need it at the moment (hakuna matata = no worries). Worth listening to several versions of Jambo Bwana (hello sir), e.g.:

It will cheer you up!

IMG_2768Nakuru school



WACIT Global Webinars: Young People taking central stage again

Harry set the scene last year in our UK WACIT conference, as the keynote speaker around whom all innovative interventions and services were considered. His experience, empathy and thoughtful approach really set their mark on the event and the participating practitioners.

So, why change a successful format? All we have to do is find our talented Harrys in Asia, Africa and Latin America as this year’s three keynote speakers. We are on the lookout as we speak. I think you can guess where this should be heading next…


WACIT Global Webinar Series 10-12 November- ESRC Festival of Social Science

We have been dormant but not inactive! Whatever goes on around us, thanks to the ESRC Festival of Social Science, we can bring our partners even closer, showcase their work and other good practice, share lessons, and reach new exciting audiences.

Back in 2016, the relay was physical and west to east, it sounds such a long time ago. This time it will be digital and east to west, but equally relentless and with plenty of results to show for! Maybe the current circumstances helped us think outside the box, henceĀ  access more practitioners and innovators across the world.

The consecutive days, will be:

Tuesday 10th November for Asia (10.00-12.00 UK time)
Wednesday 11th November for Africa
Thursday 12th November for Latin America
(trying to work out time zone compromises for the rest…)

More clues to follow on the topics, youth centeredness, filming and other materials surrounding the events. Keep in your diaries!



Meeting the lovely Red Crescent Turkey psychosocial team for refugee children

We keep adapting and moving on – we can even make new friends and hear of innovative practice, even during semi-lockdown. A webinar was not quite we would have normally opted for, instead of our workshop, but it was a good start, and a nice introduction and excuse to build on – thanks Seyda for joining, Elif and Sebnem for organising – what a great multidisciplinary and enthusiastic team!


Was a research webinar the second best option for a Friday evening in Karachi?

10 pm with the weekend looming, brings back the best memories of a city buzzing with life! No such luck this time, it had to be remote and we had to remain productive.

In that respect, the second webinar by Michelle on qualitative research with children, which was masterly organized by Sajida, did not disappoint. The chemistry of senior (Naima and Saima) and early career researchers was as vibrant that the city life we were all missing. Thanks to all for taking the time!



Neither research nor relationships stop: Webinar with Seyda’s team

This was an interesting spin-off to our evaluation of the digital WACIT child mental health training course. I was not sure how it would fit, but it worked a treat! The idea was to build on our partnership with Seyda’s up and coming group of early career researchers in Konya.

Who else to facilitate a webinar (or whatever we call it) on qualitative research with children than Michelle – she mastered it to perfection, with an impressive training pack to go with it. Shame we cannot see all participants on the screenshot, but thanks to all for your contribution!