Research-led support for parents and families affected by war

Wednesday 22nd Nov 2023, 3.01pm

Advice for parents during humanitarian crises based on research by Oxford experts has been adapted for families affected by the Israel-Gaza war.

The text in ArabicTranslated into Arabic

Members of Oxford University’s wider community helped adapt global parenting in crisis resources and translate them into Arabic and Hebrew. Advice from the team has been deployed in emergencies around the world, and the easy-to-use tips can be accessed here.

Professor Lucie Cluver who, with Dr Jamie Lachman and Dr Isang Awah, leads the parenting in crisis team in the University’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention, said, ‘We really tried here to strengthen the mental health support for parents and caregivers – who are looking after children under unimaginable stress. For many parents, it is vital to just be told that they need to look after themselves too, and try to eat and sleep and take a moment to breathe. A brilliant psychologist in the region added this phrase: Tell yourself a calming message again and again: ‘I can do this, I am strong’.’

Dr Lachman said psychologists and cultural experts from both Israel and the Palestinian community helped to develop the advice for the current situation.

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In collaboration with Parenting for Lifelong Health, a UK charity spinout from Oxford, the team has supported more than 210 million people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts in Ukraine and Sudan, and natural disasters in Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, and Malaysia.  In total, the resources have been translated into over 110 languages.

The resources for Palestine and Israel are available online and have been endorsed by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation and multiple charities. So far, the parenting tips have been shared directly with 43 organisations, including 11 academic institutions, four UN Agencies, 25 non-governmental organisations, two funding agencies, and one governmental body. The advice has also been delivered in radio and video form.

The team sends its most heartfelt condolences to all affected by this horrendous situation, and as a team, is committed to supporting families in this crisis in whatever way they can.