Commissioned two and a half years ago by researchers at the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Uganda and Washington University, the study involved 1200 refugees in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement. Participants were divided into two groups comprising 600 individuals each.
Refugee children whose
parents employ proper parenting skills are in a better mental state compared to their
counterparts irrespective of the difficulty associated with displacement, a new
study has revealed.
Commissioned two and a half years ago by
researchers at the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Uganda and
Washington University, the study involved 1200 refugees in Kiryandongo refugee
settlement. Participants were divided into two groups comprising 600
The researchers assessed how parents punished the children
whenever they committed a mistake and the warmth and affection generally
expressed to them by the caregivers. They also assessed the levels of mental
distress and the kind of social support residents get while in the settlements.
Self-harm, drug abuse, and attempted suicide are some of the
biggest challenges refugee children face. However, Flora Cohen, the Principal
investigator of the study, says that they found that children whose parents
were trained on proper parenting using a tool dubbed “Journey of Life” were
three times in better mental health state than those that never been trained.
Journey of Life, according to Gary Agaba, who
coordinated the study, is designed to raise awareness of the problems and needs
of children and provide guidelines on how the community can find solutions. He
says for the study, they took parents through 12 sessions of training that
involved issues to do with improving livelihoods, problem-solving and parenting
skills among others.
//Cue in: “Journey of Life ………….
Cue out: ………… be that frustration,”//
While the final assessment after the training
showed great improvements in children's welfare, Agaba says violence against
children in the refugee settlement was still high and when this was put to
Sylvia Pimei, an official from the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social
Development she acknowledged that their data points to the same.
said that the ministry has developed parenting guidelines, which if followed
can help reverse such problems. On his part, Patrick Sambaga, the TPO country
director called for increased and continuous investment into psychosocial
support pointing out that currently most of the psychiatric care is given by
NGOs and once they pull out, some beneficiaries tend to relapse.
//Cue in:” The other finding …………
Cue out: ………….. to stay well,”//
At the height of the pandemic, for instance, suicidal
cases among children increased in Kiryandongo settlement, which accommodates up
to 76000 refugees. Currently, David Deng, a refugee from South Sudan and
leader in the settlement, says their biggest problem is the drug and subsistence
abuse since some of the children have been out of school for a long because of
the COVID-19 lockdown.