A new manual developed by Terre des hommes (Tdh) answers pressing questions: which are the skills needed by professionals working with children? How can they be improved and afterwards assessed? Because today we know that special skills are required to best help vulnerable children develop their self-confidence and autonomy.
14 psychosocial skills and monitoring indicators
The first two levels comprise nine personal and social skills, fundamental for any adult helping vulnerable children, whatever the field of intervention may be. “This is about the attitude to adopt when approaching the child and his/her surroundings so as to ensure the quality of the project being carried out”, emphasises Michele Meuwly, resource person for psychosocial matters and author of the manual. “It is essential that the professional knows his own resources and is able to reappraise himselfbefore becoming a good ‘guide’ for others; or equally that he knows how to listen with empathy, handle conflict in a positive way, motivate people and mobilise communities, etc.”
The other two levels include five more specific methodological and technical skills addressed, amongst others, to facilitators called on to plan and set up psychosocial activities with children.
Indicators are suggested for each of these 14 skills, in order to be able to assess the standard of the teams, their training requirements, and afterwards to carry out quality monitoring. This can also be a valuable aid for recruitment.
Modules for training based on experimentation
18 ready-made training modules allow development of the skills wanted. Based on a method of learning by doing, these modules propose activities where each participant can experiment with theoretical ideas such as resilience, perception or active listening, as well as more practical, playful or creative activities.
This manual is directly inspired by the experience gained in more than five years with the project “Protection/Psychosocial” in several emergency contexts (in particular in Iran, Colombia, Sudan) and development contexts where Tdh works to strengthen the system of protection (amongst others, MOVE, supported by the UEFA, in Albania, Moldova and Romania).