Field Note: Accessible Strategies to Support Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in Emergencies: Experience from the Rohingya Refugee Camp
More than half a billion children globewide currently live in conflict or crisis contexts (UNICEF 2016), including more than 30 million displaced and refugee children (UNICEF 2020). The extreme and often prolonged adversity suffered in these environments can have lifelong physical, psychological, and socioeconomic consequences for children, and thus for society, and can affect an entire generation. Despite these dire consequences, less than 0.14 percent of global humanitarian financial aid is allocated to child mental health (Save the Children 2019). Frontline aid workers and parents and guardians often lack access to early childhood development training, and to the resources needed to meaningfully address the unique challenges faced by children living in crisis and conflict environments, including their mental health and wellbeing. To meet these critical knowledge and resource gaps, No Limit Generation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, developed a video training platform to equip frontline aid workers, parents, and guardians across the globe to support the wellbeing of vulnerable children. No Limit Generation then conducted a monthlong pilot study in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh to test this technology-driven training approach. In this field note, we describe our program design and pilot findings, which we consider a possible strategy for delivering sustainable and scalable early childhood development training and resources to workers on the front lines. Our hope is that this innovative work will help young children around the world heal, grow, and thrive, and ultimately achieve their full potential.