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Date: 11-03-2024

Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation highlights significant impacts of psychological first aid training

Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation highlights significant impacts of psychological first aid training 

Since the onset of the war in Ukraine in 2022, the ISSA Network has advocated and mobilized to incorporate psychological first aid (PFA) into humanitarian assistance for children and families displaced by the war. 

Together with War Child Holland and ISSA Member Amna, ISSA developed the “Foundational Training on Psychological First Aid (PFA) and trauma-informed practices with young children and their caregivers” in 2022. The training focuses on three main components: key concepts and guiding principles for psychological first aid; working with distressed children and caregivers; and managing stress in professionals. 

Reaching over 1,900 practitioners through 190 master trainers from 30 organizations in Europe and Central Asia, this initiative addresses a critical gap in PFA knowledge and skills among early childhood practitioners, aiming to meet the specific needs of young refugee children and their caregivers.  

During a recent cross-regional learning workshop on mental health and wellbeing organized under the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative, ISSA Member Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation (USSF) shared the impact of the training based on their experience conducting the training for 20 master trainers in Ukraine. They reported significant improvements in children's resilience and emotional regulation, as well as increased awareness and ability to identify signs of distress in children among the trained early childhood professionals. 

To expand their impact, USSF focused on training and offering support to two target groups namely teachers and parents. They have been supporting 35 kindergartens to provide early childhood services, eight of these are dedicated centers for children not enrolled in kindergartens due to various reasons including lack of safety measures. These centers organize educational activities for children of early and preschool age as well as provide mental health and wellbeing classes for their caregivers. Additionally, through short online and in-person training sessions supported by UNICEF, they reached over 12,000 educators and 10,000 parents. 

The impact of USSF’s work underscores the significance of integrating PFA into humanitarian efforts to address the overall development and wellbeing of the youngest children and their caregivers. 

Learn more through the recording of their presentation.