Healing, Resilience and Preventing Extremism among war-affected children in Jordan and Lebanon

Project Summary



Very few experiences in life are as rewarding as witnessing the transformation of people affected by violence, conflict, stress and trauma, into healed, resilient and empowered actors of change who gained the wellbeing, confidence and skills to address the very driving factors of violence that caused them and others harm in the first place. 


In this project, the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) has worked with some of the most vulnerable and least supported children and adults in Lebanon and Jordan, who are affected by war, violence and stress, suffering from sleeping problems, anxiety, depression and PTSD, and struggling with the widespread prevalence of school drop-out, child labour, early marriage, drugs, crime, safety concerns, lack of educational and employment opportunities and marginalization. Ongoing vicious cycles of poor mental, emotional and physical wellbeing and of direct, structural and cultural violence are playing out throughout homes, schools, camps and neighborhoods in Jordan and Lebanon, affecting children, parents, families, teachers, and the broader society as a whole. 

IAHV’s Approach

By facilitating healing, stress- and trauma-relief, IAHV’s approach takes away a major driving force of violence, crime and destructive behavior, while it restores a strong and healthy psycho-social foundation in individuals and communities for stable and cohesive families, successful education, social and economic empowerment, social cohesion and reconciliation, rehabilitation and reintegration of fighters, and prevention and transformation of violence and extremism. 

In this project, which aimed to enhance the wellbeing, resilience and psychological reintegration of children impacted by armed conflict and violence and reduce violent behaviour risk, target groups were empowered with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and to design, organise and implement effective actions to improve the safety, wellbeing and resilience of (other) children and prevent radicalisation.

Project Activities and Outcomes


Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese children affected by trauma, conflict and violence have received basic training in stress relief and resilience tools; 


Specially trained Youth Anti-Violence and Peace Ambassadors (YAVAP) got the confidence, wellbeing, skills and inspiration to prevent and reduce violence in their families, schools and communities. 


Children most at risk of violent behaviour, self-harm, suicide, aggression or recruitment, have received deep trauma-relief, empowerment and human values training. They reported improvement in their sense of hopelessness (-44%), sleeping problems (-40%), PTS (-37%) and sense of wellbeing (+49%), as well as increased care for others (+34%). Children who lacked self-esteem and isolated themselves opened up, those displaying aggressive behaviour experienced relief from long term traumas, those suffering from anxiety, depression and PTSD became more positive and enthusiastic, those who were shy transformed into effective leaders taking responsibility for peace projects. 


They have conceived and designed 15 Peacebuilding Art Performances on topics which are part of their lives and close to their heart, such as domestic violence, early marriage, violence against women and children, violence from school drop-out and drugs, bullying, cyber blackmail, conflict between Jordanian and Syrian youth, sexual harassment, and violence from stress and negative coping strategies. Girls who had suffered the effects of early marriage healed their wounds, spoke out and changed the mind of their audience through their self-written theatre play performed on live TV. The anti-bullying flashmob campaign of the Youth Peace Ambassadors reached tens of thousands of people live and online.


Parents and caregivers participated in Healing, Resilience, and Empowerment Training to enable them to improve their quality of life and provide a supportive and violence-free environment for their children;


Frontline Workers (teachers, social and youth workers) participated in the Personal Resilience, Stress Management and Professional/Self-Care Training to prevent burn-out and improve stress management, personal resilience, wellbeing and performance capacity; 


Frontline workers graduated from the Training of Trainers to keep multiplying stress relief techniques in their schools and communities on a sustainable basis. New Syrian trainers provided Stress Relief and Resilience workshops to 5,000+ refugees in Zaatari camp, Jordan.


Through community celebrations and extensive media coverage, including several live TV interviews and performances, the project team and target groups have indirectly reached an estimated 100,000+ people. 


Frontline Workers (teachers, social and youth workers) participated in the Personal Resilience, Stress Management and Professional/Self-Care Training to prevent burn-out and improve stress management, personal resilience, wellbeing and performance capacity; 

The Project Closure Celebration brought together a large community for peace in the midst of the turmoil of Lebanon’s protests. Prejudices, conflicts and tension between different groups transformed into increased understanding, acceptance, joint celebration and cooperation. 

Thank you 

It is the specialization of IAHV to prevent and break cycles of violence and to lay a strong psychosocial foundation for peace by effectively transforming mindsets, attitudes, wellbeing and behavior of individuals and communities. We are grateful to our donors, partnering organisations, team members and numerous supporters around the world for enabling us to positively affect the lives of thousands of vulnerable children and their environment through this project. 

Vision ahead 

One of the strongest positive side-effects is the widespread awareness about psychosocial support and peacebuilding that IAHV brought to the community level, where people got inspired by the simple but effective link between wellbeing, inner and outer peace, and are eager to spread this further for the benefit of their families and communities.

We hope that the impact evidence of this project will help to speed up the integration of effective approaches of psychosocial peacebuilding into the core of local and international peacebuilding efforts in order to increase their impact and sustainability.

The Problem and IAHV's Response
Project Update
Project Activities
Selection of Target Areas and Groups
Research & Statistics
Partners & Feedback
Unintended Positive Results
Facebook Updates
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"IAHV programs have had a huge impact in Menshieh, on personal lives, work, homes and the community as a whole. You have changed the mentality of this community. It created brotherhood among the communities here. The violence among the children has reduced. They smile more, are more relaxed and more motivated. Now there is friendliness without fighting.

First through the football matches, this project created familiarity, what was needed. The local community came together because of this project. Syrians started coming to our community center. We convinced the parents to allow their children to develop their talents in music and art. It created bridges of trust."

Mayor of Menshieh, Mafraq

"I worked with other organizations with bigger budgets and more staff, but we achieved less.”

IAHV staff member

"We are working in an environment that is in dire need of psychosocial activities. I have never seen such an effective stress relief as in this workshop… This will heavily reflect on the type of work that I do, and will allow me to truly benefit the Syrian refugees that I work with.” 

Social worker at Zaatari camp

"Visiting refugees in their homes and shelters, seeing their situation and listening to their stories, is a stressful job. We take the stress home with us. In other self-care workshops there was always something missing. They focused more on cognitive levels and mental health. However, IAHV’s Professional Care workshop addresses this gap, because it is more holistic, touches on more aspects, goes deeper and raises our energy levels. My health and energy levels have improved and I have quit smoking!”

Ahmad, JRS refugee staff for house visits


Change in Tripoli


IAHV Psychosocial Peacebuilding approach - Jordan and Lebanon 2018

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Co-funded by the European Union


Implemented by Crossarts and IAHV

These project pages are created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of IAHV and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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