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“Psychosocial assistance must become part of emergency assistance for children in conflict areas”: Tjipke Bergsma, CEO of War Child

“Psychosocial assistance must become part of emergency assistance for children in conflict areas”: Tjipke Bergsma, CEO of War Child

Partner Content – May 22nd, 2019

DCHI Partner War Child will from now on focus more on psychosocial problems in international emergency aid, but cannot do that alone, argues director Tjipke Bergsma

War Child’s Tjipke Bergsma has written emphatically in the Volkskrant about the need to offer psychosocial support as a fundamental aspect for children in conflict areas. He describes the compelling reasons why this form of care needs to be integrated into emergency aid, in order for a child to ever have a chance of healing from the traumatic experiences of conflict.

‘Children show major changes in their emotions and behaviour. Even if violence stops, it is not peace for children. A war leaves behind not only visible but also many invisible scars. Children are scarred for life, although it doesn’t have to be this way’.

‘With psychosocial help, children learn to regain social and psychological control. Article 39 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child obliges us, adults, that children who are victims of war violence can make use of special care: psychosocial support. At War Child, we do our utmost, but we must acknowledge that we alone cannot reach all children who urgently need this help’

‘That is why we are going to spend more time on innovation, to find the most effective psychosocial support methods and to make them available to others, so that more children benefit.’

Tjipke Bergsma shares a plea to Governments globally and Minister Kaag, in order to recognise the urgent need and necessary support to make Psychosocial care for children a permanent part of emergency assistance.

‘The outcome more than justifies the effort. Today’s children are the adults of tomorrow and must be given the opportunity to shape their future and that of their country. Doing nothing should not be an option’.

The DRA Innovation Fund Call on Safety & Protection, facilitated together with DCHI, has resulted in a specific call to action for external partners on 4 focus areas, 1 of which is on Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing. The DRA partners have defined their context specific challenges within this theme and idenitifed the skill, knowledge and experience they need to develop the best approaches. War Child have submitted a Challenge Brief that specifically tackles the issue of Psychosocial Services for children, which can be found here entitled ‘Developing a Holistic Care System’.

Do you have expertise, knowledge or solutions that could contribute to the further development of potential innovations? Get in touch with the specific organisations (contact details in Challenge Briefs) and discuss possibilities for collaboration! You can see all the submitted challenge brief’s for this focus area here.

To read the full article in the Volkskrant (NL) follow this link!

Initiative: Safety and Protection

If people affected by crisis are provided with food and medical aid, but remain unsafe from conflict, something vital is missing from an adequate humanitarian response. To better address the current issues around safety and protection which crisis affected populations and humanitarian staff are facing, the opportunities provided by new technologies and innovation, need to be explored.

More information