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A Case Study on Key Considerations on Adaptations to Child Wellbeing During COVID 19

Learn from this case study on key considerations on adaptations to child wellbeing during COVID 19.

Read through the short case study below documented by Plan International Lebanon during the COVID-19 IDO response. The case study outlines how their life skill program 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 behavior.

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

Part 1: The Life Skill Program Before COVID-19

  • Plan International in Lebanon implements a Life Skills Program 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 Program During COVID-19

  • At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Plan rapidly adapted all ongoing programs in Lebanon. Psychosocial support was listed as essential services by the Child Protection Working Group in Lebanon. Due to the lockdown situation, however, face-to-face delivery of services, including life skills sessions, was no longer possible.
  • Plan adapted the program objectives to meet identified IDO 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.
  • 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 in 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 behavioral 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 10 weeks.
  • Existing child groups (15–20 persons) were divided into smaller groups of five participants at a maximum.
  • 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 coloring 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 was developed on how to safely and effectively use WhatsApp.

Learning and Adapting

  • During implementation of the adapted approach, a new feature was added to the program: 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 a DVD, along with a DVD player, with families to watch and apply at home.

Monitoring

  • After one month of remote implementation, consultation meetings were organized 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 notes of both Life Skills and Parenting Skills were updated based on the feedback.

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 and 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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