Psychological support is urgently needed- yet there are simply not enough specialists to go around

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Measuring quality in care

Research Lead
“It’s important that the standard of the support we provide to children is of the highest possible quality. Using WeACT we can assess whether service providers have the competencies to do the job, therefore improving the overall quality of care.”

Frederik Steen, War Child researcher

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Want to learn more or ask a question? Contact Frederik via email or LinkedIn.



  • Worldwide, there is a global shortage of mental health workers (around 1 available specialist per 10,000 people)
  • In low-income and conflict-affected countries, millions of humanitarians are working to fill this gap
  • Investment in these individuals’ professional development is therefore of critical importance


The tool uses a scoring system to assess the personal and professional competencies of non-mental health specialists working with children. The scores range from 1 to 4 (1 = potentially harmful, 2 = not competent, 3 = competent, 4 = mastery).

These scores can be used by trainers and facilitators to tailor their trainings and develop skillsets.



The insights we gain from the tool are based on observations, for example, by using it in pre-designed roleplays with psychosocial support facilitators.

The roleplays see groups of facilitators respond to real-life scenarios when working with children. We conduct the roleplays both before and after a competency-driven training to measure whether their knowledge, skills and behaviours have improved.



In April 2022 the tool was made available for use as part of the EQUIP platform. Through online training sessions, external teams are currently being introduced to the tool and other related resources on the platform. These teams include facilitators from humanitarian organisations working in Iraq and Colombia.

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WeACT is now an essential component of the EQUIP platform - an online hub filled with guidance and tools to increase the quality of the psychological support we provide - both in humanitarian and development settings.


Our partners

As we develop and test the tool, we will continue to work closely with EQUIP owners UNICEF and the World Health Organisation alongside George Washington University as technical lead of the platform.



WeACT has been tested in the following countries:

We are currently adapting the training package around the tool and preparing it for roll out in more War Child countries.




A study in Lebanon was conducted among two groups of War Child facilitators. The first followed a competency-driven training adapted based on the tool; the second completed a standard training course.

Findings show the competency-driven training to be 17% more effective.

Next steps

Our research agenda

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The tool has been tested in Arabic-speaking countries including Jordan and Lebanon. In the months to come, the tool and associated roleplays will undergo further evaulation in new languages and contexts.

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WeACT in action

As part of our Research and Development activities, Frederik Steen is engaged in the work around WeACT. With a Masters degree in International Development Studies he is committed to advancing the thinking around quality assurance in humanitarian interventions in order to bring about positive change in the lives of conflict-affected children.