Accessible Strategies to Support Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in Emergencies: Experience from the Rohingya Refugee Camp – NLG’S ACCESSIBLE AND SCALABLE MODEL

J. Boulet - June 23, 2021

Author(s): Samier Mansur
Source: Journal on Education in Emergencies, Vol. 7 No. 1 (June 2021), pp. 150-163

NLG’s needs assessment revealed that frontline aid workers, parents, and caregivers
in the Rohingya refugee camps do not have adequate training or the resources they
need to address the unique challenges faced by their children. To help fill this gap,
we launched a global online training platform designed to give caregivers the critical
guidance they need to stabilize, protect, and heal vulnerable children and restore their
well-being. NLG’s platform is built on the idea that frontline aid workers, parents, and
caregivers can help children develop resilience and even reverse the negative impact
of toxic stress or trauma. Guidance provided includes the following:

  1. Create safe, structured, and inclusive environments for children to play
    in every day. The availability of safe, predictable, and inclusive environments
    where children can play and interact with others is healing for those who may
    have lost the social safety nets they once had.
  2. Engage children through informed, trustworthy, and supportive adults.
    When adult caregivers are informed and engaged as trusted role models,
    their presence plays a critical role in a child’s healthy development (National
    Scientific Council on the Developing Child 2020).
  3. Believe in children’s potential to heal and live a fulfilled life. When adult
    caregivers see a child as strong, resilient, and adaptive, the child no longer
    views themself as “broken” or in need of “fixing.” When caregivers believe in
    a child’s limitless potential, the child has a broader vision of the possibilities
    available to them in life.

The NLG platform supports existing global interventions and training programs
with an open-access digital library of information on child well-being, which is
informed by mental health and psychosocial support standards and adheres to
the six core principles outlined in the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and
Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. ECD and child health professionals are
invited to use the platform, based on their previous experience and proven impact
in the field. NLG works with these professionals to create a curriculum, which is
then presented to the professionals, caregivers, and youth-serving professionals
via the training platform website through an engaging short video series; it is
also available online at
The platform training content is integrative, trauma-informed, and evidence-based.
The ECD training videos for frontline staff in the Rohingya refugee camps are
translated, adapted to the local culture, and dubbed into the local Rohingya
language. They are designed to be either self-led or led by an instructor in a group
setting. Integral to the effectiveness of the NLG content is its unique human-centered communications approach, which was developed with feedback from
frontline aid workers, parents, and caregivers to ensure that it is
• clear, engaging, and actionable;
• easy to access through online and offline modes;
• useful for frontline aid workers, parents, and caregivers of all education
• evidence-based, culturally informed, and relevant; and
• connective—in other words, emotionally engaging through everyday
language, storytelling, and approachable experts on both cognitive and
an emotional level.
Accessibility and localization are the central components of the human-centered
communications approach. Consistent with how end-users and other beneficiaries
currently access media content, training materials should be easily accessible
online (web and mobile phone) and offline (offline mobile phone and thumb
drives). NLG suggests that to be consistent with the realities in the field, the
content should be delivered in a way that is comprehensible to all levels of literacy,
and to all education and professional backgrounds.

Localization helps to ensure that the NLG training content is accurate, culturally
informed, and culturally relevant. NLG works with Translators without Borders
to develop localized glossaries of key terms, translate scripts into local languages,
and adapt scripts to fit local customs and culture, and then dub content with
local voiceover actors to achieve professional results. This process enables NLG
to maintain a high quality of translation and training results.