Webinar | Adapting Family Strengthening Programs and Approaches to COVID-19

In this episode, Eva Sammleganage hosts a discussion on adapting family strengthening programs and approaches to COVID-19. Sara Hommel begins the discussion by sharing programmatic adaptations made to their existing HEART program. Fadila Tossyeh and Marianne Abboud go on to share the adaptations they have made to their Caregiver Support Intervention program. Kellen Kiraithe closes the discussion with an update from Tushinde Children’s Trust on caregiver support during COVID-19. The final portion of this webinar is dedicated to a question and answer period between presenters and webinar participants.

List of Speakers:
Eva Sammleganage from the Family Strengthening Task Force
Sara Hommel from Save the Children
Fadila Tossyeh from War Child Holland Lebanon
Marianne Abboud from War Child Holland Lebanon
Kellen Kiraithe from Tushinde Children’s Trust

Main Points:
0:10 Eva Sammleganage gives introduction to the webinar and presenters.
1:15 Sara begins her presentation by highlighting some of the specific programmatic adaptations that have had much success during the COVID-19 response by Save the Children.
1:53 Sara introduces HEART (Healing and Education through the Arts) and Sara explains the adaptations made to the HEART program in response to COVID-19.
7:05 Sara shares the example of Stress Busters, a HEART activity that has been adapted specifically for child protection concerns during COVID-19.
8:02 Sara provides an example of how Save the Children is conducting remote-trainings in the DRC.
9:15 Sara shares an audio-clip from Save the Children Uganda as an example of interactive radio instruction that has been created to deliver the Stress Busters activities through radio broadcasts. This concludes Sara’s presentation.
12:34 War Child Holland begins their presentation by sharing the two main focuses and goals of the CSI.
14:46 Fadila discusses the underlying model behind the CSI, speaking to how exposure to war or other conflict settings can put stress on parents/caregivers.
15:30 Fadila gives an overview of the CSI, which includes a brief that is presented in 9 sessions, aimed at providing psychosocial interventions for caregivers.
15:57 Fadila reviews the methods used in order to reach project goals during COVID-19, including strengthening parental well-being through social support groups and providing them with coping skills and strategies for stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration.
16:57 Marianne speaks to the COVID-19 outbreak in Lebanon, where the outbreak has exacerbated an already long list of stressors for parents and caregivers.
17:33 Marianne discusses what War Child has done to adapt the CSI in response to COVID-19, including the suspension of all face-to-face activities and conducting assessments with caregivers and children to learn more about their needs.
20:38 Marianne discusses what War Child took into consideration when making these adaptations to the CSI, including ensuring quick, straightforward, and relevant message recordings and ensuring that the recordings are appealing/relaxing to listen too.
23:58 Marianne discusses the structure of the remote version of the CSI, where each topic was divided into 2 recordings, for a total of 15 recordings, alongside a guidance note for community facilitators working on implementation.
26:24 Marianne discuss the importance of the caregiver interactions and feedback. This concludes War Child’s presentation.
27:20 Kellen begins by sharing a short update and overview of Tushinde’s adaptions to their family strengthening programs in response to COVID-19, including mentorship programs for girls to understand their specific needs.
30:40 Kellen shares a case study to show how Tushinde has been supporting children and families during COVID-19. This concludes Kellen’s update.
32:10 Eva begins the Q&A session.
32:18 Q1: How do you evaluate the trainings and other skills provided to caregivers and how do we ensure that it is reaching children?
35:22 Q2: What are the ingredients of the food packages and according to which standards were followed while collecting them?
36:15 Q3: Most of the time of day parents are away at work, how do you connect with them in such situations, what do we do if they do not have an android phone?
40:00 Q4: Do you have any sources available to support families in crises situations of COVID-19?
40:37 Q5: Compare your experiences before and during COVID, are you able to reach out to all those receiving your support now that in person visits and check-ups are not possible? Are you able to account for everyone on phone and WhatsApp? Or are these follow-ups an added challenge to your program?
45:50 Eva concludes webinar with final remarks.

Important Links:
Family Strengthening Task Force: https://alliancecpha.org/en/child-protection-hub/family-strengthening-task-force
The Alliance COVID-19 Resource Hub: https://alliancecpha.org/en/series-of-child-protection-materials/protection-children-during-covid-19-pandemic

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