Fostering and Unpacking Character Strengths and Wellbeing by Evaluating the Psychosocial Movement-Based Intervention ‘TeamUp’ for conflict-affected Children in Burundi: A cluster Randomized Controlled Trial
TWCF Number
Project Duration
March 1 / 2023
- September 1 / 2025
Core Funding Area
Character Virtue Development
Amount Awarded

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Mark Joris Daniël Jordans
Institution Stichting War Child

Alexandra Carina Eva Bleile
Institution Stichting War Child

The increasing number of children and communities impacted by armed conflict, violence, and displacement is not yet matched by sufficient attention to and research into their psychosocial needs. This project from a team directed by Mark Jordans, and co-directed by Alexandra Bleile at War Child seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the TeamUp intervention for conflict-affected youth in Burundi via a cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT).

Team Up is a movement-based psychosocial intervention designed for children and adolescents affected by conflict, displacement and adversity. The intervention applies a non-verbal and embodied-learning approach, consisting of a wide variety of movement-based group games, sports, creative movement, routines, body awareness and breathing exercises. It supports children to develop the skills and behaviors that enable them to manage their anger, resolve conflicts peaceably, and develop respectful and friendly interpersonal relations. It is designed for implementation in Child Friendly Spaces* (CFSs) and schools. The easy-access intervention aims to support children to better process their emotions, increase feelings of joy and optimism, and to foster collaboration, respect and friendships among children.

The study will involve 1,715 refugee, returnee and host community children (aged 9-15 years) in CFSs in Burundi and compare the effects of 12 or 24 TeamUp sessions to a control condition. The research will determine the effectiveness of the intervention, the optimal dosage, and whether effects are sustained over time, as well as investigate potential mechanisms for change such as social cohesion, trust, belonging, and hope.

Burundi was chosen as the site for the cRCT because there is a large and unmet humanitarian need in the region, and it provides an opportunity to test TeamUp in a francophone African context. Additionally, War Child Holland has an office in Bujumbura, and has established local partnerships which will facilitate implementation of the trial.

*Child Friendly Spaces provide children with protected environments in which they participate in organized activities to play, socialize, learn, and express themselves as they rebuild their lives in the aftermath of disaster. They are supervised environments in which parents and caregivers can leave their children while they collect food and water, rebuild homes or seek new income generating activities.

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