Rapid Expansion of Psychosocial Support to Children in War

Dec. 14, 2021

Play is an important way for children to heal from war. It supports them to relieve stress and tension, process their experiences and, most importantly, get back to being children. That’s why we are scaling our movement-based psychosocial support intervention TeamUp - with plans to reach 340,000 children in 22 countries by the close of 2022.

What is TeamUp?

We live in a world where two in every five people fleeing violence and persecution are children. That’s millions of young people confronted daily by uncertainty, fear and distress. Children are extremely resilient but they need the chance to process their experiences. Play and movement-based activities - such as sports and dance - can play a big role.

This is the premise that TeamUp - a psychosocial support intervention developed by War Child, UNICEF Netherlands and Save the Children - was founded upon. During weekly sessions, children take part in structured play, movement and ‘body awareness’ activities led by trained facilitators. Each activity has a specific goal related to a theme such as dealing with anger or stress and interacting with peers. The sessions take place on set dates at set times with the same facilitators - creating a much-needed sense of stability.

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Working Together to Reach Many More Children

In the coming year, we will launch TeamUp in Iraq, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, DR Congo, Sudan and Germany - all countries where outbreaks of violence, ongoing conflicts or life as a refugee is having a significant impact on the wellbeing of children. We have also just commenced sessions in Italy, Greece, Ethiopia and more. On top of our existing locations, this will make us active in at least 22 conflict-affected countries by the close of 2022.


The coalition alone would never be able to reach all children in need through our own actions - which is why we are scaling up our activities through a network of expert partners. A wide range of international INGOs and local organisations will be key to the process - working together to implement TeamUp in reception centres, refugee camps, schools and safe spaces around the globe.

Meeting Urgent Needs in South Sudan

South Sudan is one of the countries where collaboration has been key. Together with Save the Children, Help a Child and SOS Children’s Villages we began implementing TeamUp in refugee camps and vulnerable displaced and host communities across the country.

The first sessions kicked off in September with 1,790 children reached in just one month.


"I don’t feel lonely anymore."

“There used to be a lot of fighting among children in my village because we came from different places. I saw myself as a child with no importance”, says 12-year-old Agok in Bor South. “TeamUp has taught us to share experiences and play together as one team. I don’t feel lonely anymore.”

A local facilitator explains this part of the TeamUp method further: “We communicate through play and movement, rather than verbal cues, so that all children can participate - even if they don’t share a common language. What I’m seeing is that this friendship continues long after they leave the playground.”