Resilience training for refugees in the Dabaab Camp, Kenya

It all starts with resilience.

Any walk of life, whatever the circumstances – people with a high level of resilience manage challenges easier, adapt with greater ease and altogether fare better.

And of all the people in this world, those that need a healthy dose of resilience more than probably anybody else – are refugees. More specifically, kids on the run and in refugee camps. Especially those who have no parents left to tend to them, to anchor them, to kindle their dreams.

We are partnering with Save the Children in Dadaab Camp in Kenya with the aim of strengthening the resilience of refugees, especially those individuals who have taken it upon themselves to be foster parents to abandoned or orphaned children in the camp, using the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Humanitarians

The 7 Habits is a synthesis of universal, timeless principles of personal and interpersonal effectiveness, such as pro-activity, responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration and renewal, which are secular in nature and common to all people and cultures and based on the renowned book and program by the same name. Fundamental in this program is the concept of freedom of choice: the freedom to choose empowering paradigms and the freedom to apply effective habits.

While applying the same principles used in corporate and non-corporate workshops worldwide, we have adapted the program to the logistic and cognitive requirements of the audience and environment. We call it the “Stick-in-the-Sand-Approach” – relaying information and insights the same way that humanity has been teaching for millennia: through stories, analogies, pictures – stick-in-the-sand. We have applied this approach facilitating this program with beneficiaries in Kenya before, and have seen the life-changing impact it has on the individuals as well as their families. Our bet is: if we get to strengthen (particularly) the foster parents and enable them to model effective behaviours to the kids, everybody benefits: kids, families and their communities.

The program is set up to run in a sustainable manner: Some of the program managers in the camps have already been through the “7 Habits” program and will therefore serve as coaches and co-facilitators. Together, we teach the principles and effective habits to the volunteers and some of the parents: We work out together ways and opportunities in which this new knowledge can be interwoven into day-to-day interactions with the kids so that it may turn into their new “normal”, into their general understanding of how life works. The volunteers, together with the Save the Children Program Managers, coach the parents and enable an active exchange among the participants. In a next step and supported by Leadership for Humanitarians Master Facilitators, the Program Managers themselves will serve as facilitators – therefore ensuring that the program is being sustained and expanded.

Specifically, we aim at developing the mind-sets and skill-sets of the caregivers to assist the children to:

• change their views of their situation from one of hopelessness to one of possibilities;
• recognize their circle of influence, understand that they have choices and that they are the programmers of their own lives;
• develop a vision of their lives and goals that they can pursuit; and
• instilling a sense of discipline to work towards their goals It is crucial to the short-term and long-term well-being of these children to instil this sense of personal power and possibilities in them.

The opposite of it is neediness, helplessness and despair, which creates a situation of increased vulnerability and abuse, not last by being recruited by armed groups like Al Shabaab as child soldiers. Equipping them with powerful mind-sets and tool-sets to consciously make their own decisions and to cope helps them become able to map out their own paths and realize their dreams despite the gloom that engulfs them in the refugee camps.
The investment covers training the Save the Children Program Managers to become Facilitators and Coaches in the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Humanitarians” as well as all the materials needed to reach up to 1000 refugee participants in 2 years.

Total investment: USD 36.650