Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda: New school materials and all that we take for granted

At one level, it was wonderful to see the new school materials raised by Action for African Refugees, led by Emma and Luciana, only within a few days. Yet, some sadness at the same time that crowdfunding was required for what is a basic human right, that these materials

will only reach a small minority of refugee children, and that refugee adolescents have pay school fees which virtually rules them out…


WACIT India and beyond: Join our resilience study in LMIC

How do children in disadvantage understand resilience and related strategies? Or, do they? Even more so, coming from different cultures and developmental groups?

If you work in low- or middle-income countries and want to find out about Prof John Maltby’s exciting international study, and join, do get in touch!

Top-up schooling in a New Delhi slum

The slum popped up out of nowhere, bringing with it all the usual vulnerabilities for children. The local school is available, but attendance is not great and mainstream education can be a long haul for children with patchy development and emotional dysregulation.

So, this local NGO equally popped up in response to need. Regular after-school tuition and emotional literacy – a colourful oasis, rather pertinent on the eve of India Republic Day!

Time for applications for the 2018 Women Ambassadors Forum

The Women Ambassadors Forum (WAF) is an international meeting organized annually by students, with the goal of empowering women around the world. The forum is a five-day program held at Southern Methodist University in the US. The forum engages a global network of ambassadors in meaningful conversations advocating for gender equality and women empowerment through a series of workshops, seminars, and mentorship opportunities.

Women Ambassadors was founded in 2015, and since then it has organized three international forums. The WAF is now in the process of planning the fourth forum, and is currently accepting applications for the 2018 meeting:

Also, congratulations to Sima Bibi for being elected women’s rights ambassador last year!






Opportunities to work with the very best – Professor Theresa Betancourt – in the US and Sierra Leone, do not come often

img_9861It was an honour to welcome Theresa to the UK two weeks ago. Her intervention trials and other robust research studies in the most extreme human circumstances have been influenced our thinking and practice for many years. So, here is a great opportunity for a Postdoctoral Fellowship  in Sierra Leone with the Research Program on Children and Adversity, Boston College School of Social Work:

The RPCA is an applied research program dedicated to improving the evidence base on the epidemiology of mental health problems and family functioning as well as intervention research to develop and test mental health services for children and families affected by multiple forms of adversity, including armed conflict, poverty, and infectious disease. The newest phase of RPCA work in Sierra Leone involves an NIMH-funded mental health service research hub called Youth FORWARD (Youth Functioning and Organizational Success for West African Regional Development (U19 Mechanism)). Over the next 3-4 years, in collaboration with the University of Sierra Leone, the University of Liberia, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), CARITAS, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), government Ministries and non-governmental organizations, RPCA will be exploring ways to link evidence based mental health services for youth to the youth employment sector in Sierra Leone while also building capacity for mental health services research in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. , and search “req1020.”

If only I could turn the clock back and apply myself…


Global child mental health conferences: Just like London buses, more frequent and with similar trajectories

A few years ago you couldn’t get any. Crucially, this reflected the lack of readiness to incorporate child mental health in global humanitarian, welfare or health initiatives.

Last week, the RSM conference gave a good overview of the status of evidence and emerging models. This week, the Wilton Park dialogue complemented with policy and fieldwork case studies.

The conclusions were convergent – a range of innovative interventions; and consensus that child, family and community interventions need to be linked. The most encouraging pattern was the acceptance and expansion of child mental health and psychosocial provision across large regions. Models on what these should involve are still missing but these will come.

Evidence on resilience factors to help refugee families: WACIT research and fun events are not that far apart

Syrian refugee children schoolThere is usually a frustrating delay before seeing research findings in print. Nevertheless, these were the same communities that contributed to Seyda Eruyar’s research, as well as to previous WACIT visits and resilience events in Istanbul. Who says that one can not have fun and give serious messages at the same time?

Crucially, Seyda’s findings have tangible implications for interventions and services. Here is some evidence on what practitioners increasingly face, i.e. that they should be targeting BOTH past trauma (which was found to lead, as well established, to children and parent’s posttraumatic stress); and current adversities that, through parenting difficulties, were associated withSyrian refugee children school2 behavioural problems.