Child-friendly Spaces: Enhancing their Role in Improving Learning Outcomes

Gurvinder Singh and Charlotte Tocchio

Forced Migration Review, Issue 60, March 2019


In crises, child-friendly spaces (CFS) can promote psychosocial wellbeing and provide a safe space for learning but research has shown that their quality, relevance, effectiveness and sustainability vary widely. Red Crescent and Red Cross programs in Yemen and Kenya have included training in psychosocial support for volunteers and teachers and the establishment of CFS in schools to provide a place where children can: access psychosocial support; participate in activities designed boost self-esteem, self-awareness and trust; learn protection skills (e.g. accessing protection, health and social services and getting to safety); and be taught about topics such as child rights and preventing child marriage. The authors highlight several challenges with CFS including: weak/limited evaluation of results; lack of robust evidence on the relationship between psychosocial wellbeing and learning outcomes; and lack of gender-responsive programming. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and World Vision International have developed a new CFS toolkit, based on evaluations conducted by World Vision and a review by IFRC of lessons learned in implementing CFS in emergencies. IFRC has also published a study examining the need to improve the protection of unaccompanied and separated children from sexual and gender-based violence in hard-to-access locations.


Kenya | Yemen