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Building Resilience for children in low and middle income countries

Earlier this month, the Evidence Based Practice Unit based at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and University College London hosted a one-day workshop titled ‘Building resilience for children in low and middle income countries’ funded by UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health small grant.

The event brought together over 60 people from organisations that work with children in low and middle income countries, as well as academics, researchers and practitioners with experience in trauma-focused interventions.

This diverse group used the day to establish coherent dialogue by exploring what can be learnt from each other about how to build resilience, and demonstrate the impact of resilience building interventions by bridging the gap between innovative research and practice in children’s mental health.


Professor Miranda Wolpert introduced the session themes which involved dynamic engagement from attendees through collaborative tasks, interactive Mentimeter debates and panel discussions. The need to build resilience as a priority in circumstances where there are competing and challenging priorities was addressed.

There was also the opportunity to hear talks from experts on the areas of psychosocial models of resilience building for children experiencing or with past experience of trauma, and measuring and demonstrating impact of interventions.

Mark Jordans, Director of Research and Development for non-governmental organisation War Child Holland, spoke to the first theme. He did this by drawing on his work on the development, implementation and evaluation of psychosocial and mental health care systems in low and middle income countries, especially for areas of armed conflict.

Later, Panos Vostanis, Founder of Worldwide Awareness of Children in Trauma (WACIT) a partner of the Anna Freud National Centre, spoke about WACIT as a multi-level resilience building model. Panos was one of the driving forces behind developing the workshop and said that the day aimed 'to integrate the current states of knowledge […] which is only a small piece in a large chain of events, we hope’ in his introductory video below:

A participant said of the day: “Had a great day connecting with people. Hope we can continue to work together to achieve better outcomes for children!” (Building with Bamboo, @BWB_Resilience)

In line with Panos’ hopes, there is a view to extend this day into a network of persons interested in addressing challenges and sharing knowledge around resilience building across different contexts.

This will be linked to the Anna Freud National Centre’s existing Learning Network which is working towards including a forum for discussion and knowledge sharing. There is also the hope of a near future networking evening to continue the discussion and encourage collaborations.

If you would like to hear more about the event, you can watch this video in which event organisers Evelyn and Karolin speak about learnings from the day, and see the discussions captured as an illustration by creative duo TemJam.