An RCT of enhanced Child Friendly Space interventions for children affected by conflict and displacement

Grant awarded: £616,655

Lead organisation: World Vision

Partnering organisations: Columbia University, AfriChild Centre

Project length: 2018-2021

Study locations: Uganda

Principal Investigator: Cassie Landers, Columbia University
Kevin Savage, World Vision


Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) are the most widely used intervention to provide Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) as well as provide a protective environment for children in emergencies. Despite their wide use, they are implemented by many agencies often with significant variance in their design and quality. Little evidence of their effectiveness has been documented, and few specific components or critical elements of their design have been tested to strengthen the program model. The research will examine specific psychosocial packages and their comparative effectiveness to further contribute to the evidence base improving the design and implementation of these widely-used children’s interventions.

The study will compare the effectiveness of an enhanced package of psychosocial activities to the standard in achieving MHPSS outcomes, in the West Nile refugee response in Uganda. A 3-arm randomised control trial will be implemented using mixed methods approach to collect, triangulate and corroborate data

Expected outcomes:

The study will help determine whether CFS enhancement package effectively improves the ‘standard’ approach and the practicality and cost of implementation, by considering facilitators capacity to implement the package with fidelity. Providing evidence of the effectiveness of the enhancement package in the short-term, immediate, context of the West Nile response. The Re-AIM framework will be used to outline study characteristics to support an assessment of the generalizability of results. Research team will continue refine M&E tools, support ‘real-time’ monitoring systems to facilitate data collection, and strengthen the capacity of operational partners to generate evidence

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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