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Case Study on Children Life Skills Programme Adaptation

Learn more from this case study on children life skills programme adaptation.

Read through the short case study below documented by Plan International Lebanon during the current COVID-19 response. The case study outlines how their life skill programme has been adapted to meet the needs of children and to enable continuity during COVID-19.

Life skill programming is a type of focused psychosocial support that builds essential competencies for children and young people to cope with adversity, stay safe and adopt healthy behaviour.

Adapting Group Activities for Child Well-being in COVID-19 in Practice: A case study

 

Part 1: The Life Skill Programme Before COVID-19

  • Plan International in Lebanon implements a Life Skills Programme for at-risk children aged 10–17 years.
  • Weekly, two-hour, face-to-face sessions—selected from a broad curriculum by children. —promote assertiveness, self-confidence, social cohesion, and positive gender norms.

Part 2: Adapting the Programme During COVID-19

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Plan rapidly adapted all ongoing programmes in Lebanon. Psychosocial support was listed as an essential service by the Child Protection Working Group in Lebanon. But due to the lockdown situation, face-to-face delivery of services, including life skills sessions, was no longer possible. Plan adapted the programme objectives to meet identified pandemic needs:

  • Decrease psychosocial distress of at-risk girls and boys to cope with COVID-19;
  • Equip parents and caregivers with tools to practice self-care and reduce psychosocial distress;
  • Reduce stigma and social exclusion resulting from COVID-19; and
  • Identify and respond to protection cases, including cases of abuse and violence.

Life skills sessions were adapted for remote delivery via conference call and WhatsApp with small groups

  • Themes that were most prominent to the context of COVID-19 were selected for a shortened course focusing on psychosocial support, protection, COVID-19 awareness and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • The two-hour sessions were reduced to 45 minutes by selecting only the activities that could be delivered online and by focusing on key messages.
  • The approach was changed from skill building and practicing behavioural change to interactive awareness raising and identification and referral of at-risk children and their families.
  • Sessions were delivered once a week for a period of ten weeks.
  • Existing child groups (15–20 persons) were divided into smaller groups of a maximum of five participants.
  • Groups were called in by the facilitator to join the session.
  • Between sessions, WhatsApp was used by facilitators to stay in contact with the groups and to share information.
  • Facilitators recorded short videos of 30–60 seconds with key messages, information, education, or communication (IEC) materials for the adolescents or parents/caregivers to watch prior to, or after, the session.
  • To support the online life skills sessions, Plan distributed psychosocial support kits, which included pens, notebooks, crafts, puzzles, games, stress balls and colouring materials, as well as earphones to listen to the online sessions confidentially. The kits were distributed door-to-door while maintaining social distancing and hygiene protocols.

Informed consent and safeguarding:

  • Prior to adapting the approach, all participants were informed about the purpose of the group. Informed consent was obtained to join in virtually, and guidance for facilitators on how to safely and effectively use WhatsApp was developed.

Learning and adapting:

•During the implementation of the adapted approach, a new feature was added to the programme: recorded sessions with key activities and clear instructions were provided to adolescents and parents/caregivers who were not able to join the online sessions. These sessions were shared on DVD, along with a DVD player, to families to watch and apply at home.

Monitoring:

  • After one month of remote implementation, consultation meetings were organised with participants and facilitators. Feedback regarding (1) content, (2) approach and modality, (3) group dynamics, (4) success and challenges, and (5) things to change and improve were discussed. The activity manuals and guidance note of both Life Skills and

Parenting Skills were updated based on the feedback.

  • Plan Officers monitor the sessions regularly. They fill out a monitoring form; share their feedback with the facilitator directly after the session, highlighting things to improve; and share written feedback with the facilitator and their supervisor.
  • A Remote Feedback and Complaint Survey (FCM) has been developed which is being completed by children and parents who are participating in activities.
  • A pre-/post-KAP survey is being developed to be able to capture the impact of the new remote approach.
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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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